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Two Weeks Left In Health Insurance Open Enrollment Under ACA

Health insurance
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Health insurance.

In the first four weeks of open enrollment, 35,010 Arizonans signed up for a health insurance plan through healthcare.gov, according to new numbers from the federal government

That’s only a fifth of last year’s total of 160,456, but Allen Gjersvig isn’t worried. 

“I’m not overly concerned, simply because so many people wait [until] the end, and we have very busy navigators,” said Gjersvig, who directs enrollment services for the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers. “They’re seeing people, but that doesn’t mean the person has made the decision to push the ‘buy’ button.”

Gjersvig said typically, more people enroll in the last couple of weeks than in the entire month of November. 

But Gjersvig also said there’s been a significant push from sellers of so-called “short-term” plans this year. Those are cheaper and can last as long as an ACA-compliant plan, but they don’t have to cover all the benefits required under the health law, like pre-existing conditions or mental health. 

“There’s some aggressive marketing going on and attempts to make short-term plans sound as good as a comprehensive, qualified plan,” Gjersvig said. “We are concerned that some people will think they’re buying a Cadillac but in fact they’ve bought a used Volkswagen.

Open enrollment to buy health insurance on the federal marketplace ends Dec. 15. 

Gjersvig recommends people visit coveraz.org if they need help signing up.

Bret Jaspers was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2017 to 2020.