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November 01, 2015

Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act starts Sunday

Pennsylvania slashed the steepest proposed rate hikes

Insurance Health
White Death Gap File Art/for PhillyVoice

After falling for decades, the death rate for middle-aged whites began to increase in 1999.

Open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act opened Sunday, allowing people to change their coverage or choose a new plan.

According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, the penalty for those who do not enroll in a plan has steepened. 

Those without insurance, which is mandatory under the law, can face a fine of $695 or 2.5 percent of their income (whichever is greater). 

The department says it saved Pennsylvania consumers $81 million when it negotiated down rates initially proposed by insurance companies in October.

PennLive reports that those proposed rates drew national attention, with some insurers reasoning that many of those who enrolled last year turned out to be much sicker than they expected and created costs from medical bills far more expensive than their premiums. 

While the most drastic increases requested by some companies were slashed, many of the insurers offering individual plans and all of those offering plans for small groups in the state have increased rates by less than 10 percent.

Open enrollment for insurance runs through Jan. 31, however, consumers must choose a plan before Dec. 15 to ensure the coverage begins on Jan. 1 and that there are no overlaps in coverage. You can browse plans at