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Delaware's insurance marketplace faces challenges in open enrollment

Delaware’s goal to sign up the state's remaining 54,000 uninsured people during the marketplace’s open enrollment, which starts Tuesday, November 1, is a lofty goal.


The state has signed up exactly half that amount (28,000) since the marketplace opened three years ago. 

Add to that, monthly premiums in Delaware’s marketplace have increased by as much as 32.5 percent for next year.


Secretary of Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services Rita Landgraf said the state is trying to contain the rising premiums.


“We are also concerned about the deductibles and the copays. And that’s why we are dedicated to looking at this from a holistic perspective. And looking at the cost of our healthcare delivery system,” she said.  


Landgraf doesn’t expect the higher premiums to deter people from signing up this enrollment period. 82 percent of Delawareans qualify for a tax credit that will bring their monthly premium to $150. But that’s still nearly 50 percent higher than the national average of $106.


To bring costs down, the state needs to sign up more young, healthy people between now and the end of the year. That will offset the cost of older, sicker people buying plans.


But that may also prove difficult. In the past three years, the number of people in the marketplace from ages 18-34 hasn’t gotten above 28 percent. 


The penalty for not having insurance next year rises to 2.5 percent of your annual household income or $695 for an adult and $347.50 for each child.  


The enrollment period runs through the end of the year. Anyone wanting health insurance to begin January 1 needs to sign up by December 15.