The fourth Affordable Care Act open enrollment period begins Nov. 1.

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The next Affordable Care Act open enrollment period begins Tuesday, Nov. 1.

People who need to sign up or renew health insurance plans will find fewer choices offered and higher premium prices this year but most Ohioans will get help to offset the higher prices, Obamacare advocates said.

This is the fourth enrollment period for the marketplace exchange which continues through Dec. 15. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average health plan in Ohio is increasing in cost about two percent this year — which is well below the national average of 25 percent.

Chris Keck, Ohio director for Enroll America, an Obamacare advocacy group, said most Ohioans are not paying full price. As premium prices go up so do the government subsidies and tax credits, he said.

“The premium tax credits, the financial assistance which more that 80 percent of Ohioans received last year, is a way to offset that,” Keck said. “Everybody’s circumstance is different and depending on how much you make will depend on how much financial assistance you will receive."

The number of insurance companies offering plans has dropped dramatically in Ohio —down from 17 last year to 11 statewide. According to the Ohio Department of Insurance, that number varies widely depending where you live.

In Cuyahoga, Summit, and Lorain counties for example, there are five companies offering plans in the market place. But both Ashland and Geauga counties have only three insurance companies with plans in the exchange.

The penalties for not having some type of health insurance also increase next year.  The IRS will hit you with a $695 tax penalty or 2.5 percent of your income, whichever is greater.

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