Consumer Alert: ACA open enrollment begins - and costs are up

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Friday marked the first day of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, and as usual, the cost of health insurance is going up. But how much more you pay will depend on where you live.

Health care is expensive, and this is the time of year when consumers need to confront how much their premiums will cost for the next year. Experts say that while we shouldn't expect a bargain, there shouldn't be a massive increase either.

"The good news is for 2019, premiums were pretty stable – expensive, but they didn’t really go up – and for 2020, it looks like they’ll be pretty stable again too," says Donna Rosato, with Consumer Reports.

In Connecticut, the average cost for individuals will go up 4%, to $649. New Yorkers will see a 7% hike, to just over $600. And New Jersey residents will see the biggest increase at 9%, but their policies will remain the cheapest, at well under $600.

Those numbers are for people who buy insurance on their own. For those who get insurance through their employer, the cost will vary based on how much of the bill their employer is willing to pick up.

The other good news for individual customers is that looking back to last year, most insurance companies made healthy profits, which means consumers could soon be getting a check in the mail.

"Insurers are required to spend 80% of the premiums they collect – your dollars – on medical care or initiatives like wellness programs or things like that. If they spend less than that, they owe you a rebate," says Rosato.

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