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Open enrollment under ACA begins with changes: less time to apply, varying premiums

Julie Grasson, Assistant t Director of Toledo Lucas County Care Net reviews Open Enrollment (courtesy: NBC24.com).

Toledo, Ohio (WNWO)-- "In 2017 we were paying $460 a month just to have insurance, that's not including co-pays, prescriptions... said Michelle Stegall. She and her husband Terry are recipients of market place insurance.

He is retired and is not old enough for Medicare and though Michelle is disabled, neither is she.

They're watching the changes to healthcare very closely.

"[If] the tax credit is taken away we won't be able to afford insurance, it's just a fact of life, we don't make enough money to pay 900 or more dollars a month."

While the Affordable Care Act has not been repealed there have been major changes.

The window for open enrollment was cut from just a couple months down to 6 weeks.

" People that we've assisted have always come out in January after the holidays when things kind of calm down... that's not an option for them this year" said Julie Grasson, Assistant director at CareNet, a non profit which helps low income Lucas county residents get insurance.

Due to federal cuts of an Ohio Food Bank grant, their insurance navigators are no longer available.

"As navigators we were able to cover 21 counties in Northwest Ohio, and now we're focusing on the local area."

The insurance policies themselves have also changed, meaning even if a person signs up for a pln in 2017 it could be completely different in 2018 with varying premiums. There have also been cuts in national advertising - meaning fewer reminders.

" If individuals aren't looking at the mail that they're getting they could automatically be put into a plan that's not what they think it is," said Grasson.

Currently, Congress hasn't passed a replacement bill.

"I'm hoping that Congress will at least do what's right and not let people like my husband and myself fall by the wayside," said Stegall.

To find a plan that is right for you or to see if you qualify you can head to healthcare.gov.

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