Two issues that a majority of Americans have agreed on during this election cycle are concerns about the economy and inflation. People are worrying about the costs of everything from gas to groceries to health care.

That’s why it is important that hospitals and health systems encourage open enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces. Studies show that having health insurance coverage is associated with better access to care and better health outcomes. Individuals, families and small businesses can sign up now through Jan. 15, 2023. Anyone who enrolls by midnight Dec. 15, 2022, can get full-year coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2023.

I know many of your organizations are hosting insurance workshops and offering navigation services to help people better understand all health insurance options available to them and make informed decisions.

We also can help individuals and families find out if they are eligible to enroll for free or at very low cost as a result of subsidies that can reduce premiums and cost-sharing. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, marketplace enrollment reached 13.8 million people in 2022 — a record high — with 12.5 million people receiving a subsidy.

At the same time, we are concerned by the conduct of some commercial health insurance companies that are responsible for providing this coverage as they increasingly erect barriers to care and push more of the cost of care onto patients.

Last week, the AHA urged the Secretaries of the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Labor to take additional steps to ensure adequate oversight of commercial health plans, including those offering Medicare Advantage plans, this open enrollment season. Individuals and families should feel assured that the plan they choose during open enrollment will actually be there for them when they need care.

Having comprehensive health insurance gives people peace of mind that when they or family members get sick or are injured, they will have access to the care they need. Let’s make sure Americans get these essential health benefits available to them.

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