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Health insurance enrollment period opens Monday

Courtesy: Washington Health Plan Finder and Your Health Idaho

The open enrollment period for health insurance opens today [Monday] in Washington and Idaho.

Officials in both states say consumers will benefit from a wider variety of options than in past years.

Washington officials say 12 companies will offer health insurance through the state exchange this year. Consumers in all 39 counties will have at least one plan to choose from.

In Idaho, state officials tout two new carriers offering health policies this year and a record number of plans available through Your Health Idaho.They say that’s due, in part, to federal subsidies for health care funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA. Those subsidies help make health insurance more affordable to a larger number of people.

Pam MacEwan, who directs Washington’s health benefits exchange, says people who bought coverage before at a minimum level are now able to get a little more for their money.

“We’re starting to see people go back to selecting what we call ’silver coverage,’ which is more middle-of-the-road, generous coverage. So they’re taking the time to think about what’s going to happen next, not just to get the coverage, but what’s actually going to happen when they go to the doctor," she said.

MacEwan spoke recently on TVW’s Inside Olympia program. She says there’s no guarantee the subsidies that lower your premiums will be permanent.

She says the average price of health insurance in Washington is up about four-and-a-half percent from last year.

The open enrollment period in both states will run through December 15.