Big changes involved with 2017 Affordable Care Act - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Big changes involved with 2017 Affordable Care Act

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Some big changes are coming with the Affordable Care Act this year that you need to know about. 

With the Jan. 31 deadline for coverage quickly approaching, it's time to pick a plan. 

"Health insurance is becoming so complicated," said Bill Lucas, owner of Bill Lucas Insurance. 

Bill Lucas' job is to help you find the right health insurance. He says the changes are having a big impact on folks. 

"The plans on the internet have fewer doctors than the plans did last year," Lucas said. 

So, before you settle on a plan, make sure your doctor is in your network. Also, not only are there fewer doctors on plans - there are fewer plans. 

"In the big picture this year, nothing seems like it did last year. We have lost a lot of insurance companies, which means we've lost a lot of plans," Lucas said. 

In our area, lots of people cross the border from Georgia to South Carolina and vice versa for their medical needs. Lucas says that's a problem. 

"The networks that are on the exchange are not national networks. That means if I have a doctor in South Carolina, I can't go see that doctor and be in network. It means there's a 60 percent chance I'm going to lose my current doctor," Lucas said. "If you're in Chatham County, you're basically seeing a company called Am Better, you're seeing maybe Humana still even though it's a much smaller network, and you're seeing BlueCross Blue Shield. If you're in Effingham, Bryan County, Liberty County you're not seeing anything but BlueCross Blue Shield, which is a drastic change from last year."

If you're thinking you won't buy health insurance, but instead wait for a repeal, Lucas advises against it. 

"Buy it now because I do not believe there's going to be some special deal that if you didn't buy it today, you can buy it in July. I believe any fixes that are coming will be next calendar year or next open enrollment," he said. 

Again, if you want health insurance for the 2017 year through the Affordable Care Act, you need to enroll on the marketplace before Jan. 31, unless you qualify for special enrollment.

If you have already enrolled in a plan but are having second thoughts about it, you can change your plan, but you must do so by Jan 31.

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