As many people continue to experience trouble accessing the open enrollment website for the Affordable Care Act, there is another, more traditional, way to get the coverage they need.
Local insurance agents can give you information on plans and rates, and it won't cost you anything.
Susan Kistler owns an optical shop in east Nashville and knows a lot about eyeglasses. But she doesn't know much about the new health insurance options, so she spoke with insurance agent Eric Jans.
Kistler wanted to know if she could find health insurance for less than she's paying now: $1,700 a month. It's high because she's a breast cancer survivor.
And like millions of Americans, she's been unable to shop for rates and compare plans on the government website. Plus, if she were to speak with a navigator or a certified counselor - the people trained to help consumers sign up - they are not allowed by law to give out advice.
Advice is what a lot of people really want.
"Eric is great, and I would rather go through someone who specializes in health care, which he does," Kistler said.
Using an insurance agent to sign up under the Affordable Care Act doesn't cost anything more. The premiums are the same.
Jans was able to help Kistler find a Blue Cross platinum plan that fits her needs for about $800 a month.
"That's quite a savings, for me," Kistler said. "It's about half the price. So, to me, that's fabulous."
But Jans said not everyone is happy about the rates they're seeing through the Affordable Care Act.
"There are situations where I've seen a 50 percent increase. I've seen a 200 percent increase," he said.
The biggest increases he's seen are for young people.
"So there are cases where it's sticker shock, and other cases, like with Susan, this is great," Jans said.
Insurance agents don't have any special access to the healthcare website, so they will have to enroll you by filling out old-fashioned paperwork and sending it to the government.
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