Dear Editor: 

Despite the numerous attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is still in effect and will be available to consumers for 2018.

Open enrollment has been shortened to only six weeks this year so mark these dates: Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, to get signed up or renew your coverage.

The tax credits that lower health insurance costs are still in tact. Consumers can enroll, receive tax credits and apply for exemptions, as they have been able to do since 2014.

President Donald Trump has cut funding to agencies that have federal grants to offer assistance to the public. He has slashed advertising to promote enrollment, making it more difficult for citizens to sign up.

Most recently, he has cut funding that was given to insurance companies to help them lower their costs to consumers. This will surely affect the rates insurance companies charge, but we really do not yet know what the impact will be.

Jackson County has only one provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.

Progressive Women of Northeast Alabama will offer free assistance to the public to sign up or renew their health insurance through ACA. This will be our fourth year to offer this service.

We are available to anyone in Jackson and DeKalb counties from now through Dec., 15The number to call is 256-254-8020 to get assistance or to make an appointment to enroll.

Of course, enrollment can still be accomplished over the phone directly by calling 1-800-318-2596 and online at healthcare.gov.

For those who prefer to sit down with a live person, they can call us at 256-254-8020 to make an appointment.

—Jan Newhoff

Progressive Women of Northeast Alabama

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