Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn)

NASHVILLE, TN — Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) is highlighting reports of early surges in this year’s open enrollment period during the first week of Affordable Care Act signups.

Encouraging Middle Tennesseans to evaluate their options – including numerous zero-premium or low-cost plans – Rep. Cooper said just five weeks remain before the Dec. 15 deadline.

“Obamacare has provided insurance to 20 million people. Republicans keep trying to repeal it, but the law continues to work,” Rep. Cooper said. “Obamacare is more popular than ever and cheaper than you think. Tennesseans who haven’t signed up yet should give it a try.”

Rep. Cooper highlighted news reports that said – despite a shorter enrollment period, no advertising and failed Republican attempts to repeal the law – more than 200,000 Americans chose marketplace plans on the first day of open enrollment alone. That is compared with 100,000 signups on last year’s first day of open enrollment, reports said.

Additionally, Rep. Cooper pointed out that ACA marketplace insurance plans are available to many Tennesseans at an extremely low cost. For instance, a 45-year-old in Nashville with a $30,000 annual salary will qualify for a plan with $0 in monthly premiums; others would qualify for plans with premium rates of $2-3 a month.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, many Tennesseans across the state making less than $40,000 a year will qualify for at least one zero-premium plan. Most zero-premium plans are the result of “silver-loading,” or increasing the cost of silver health plans to protect against premium increases for bronze and gold plans.

“Sign up now for health insurance,” Rep. Cooper said. “You and your family will be glad you did. It’s much more affordable than you think.”

Unfortunately, there are 163,000 Tennesseans in the Medicaid “coverage gap” – people making too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to receive a tax credit. They will bear the full brunt of steep rate increases in 2018 because of the Tennessee legislature’s failure to expand Medicaid. A total of 332,000 Tennesseans would be covered by Medicaid if the state legislature passed Insure Tennessee.

Rep. Cooper reminded Middle Tennesseans to use to sign up for health coverage before Dec. 15, the final day to choose a plan. President Trump shortened the open enrollment period by six weeks this year.

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