WASHINGTON — Enrollment begins on Wednesday for the plans on Affordable Care Act exchanges — with changes and some obstacles confronting those who plan to take part.

"Obamacare" has been in political turmoil ever since Donald Trump came into the White House, promising to eliminate the program and replace it with something better. However, Republican efforts to pass multiple bills failed, and Trump used an executive order to cancel a subsidy to insurers that ultimately lowers consumer costs.

In states served by the HealthCare.gov website, premiums will go up 37 percent for a hypothetical 27-year-old picking a standard plan called "second-lowest cost silver," the Health and Human Services department reported Monday.

Premiums for New Jerseyans enrolling in coverage for 2018 can be found ahead of enrollment on the NJ Department of Health site.

Trump has laid the blame for the increased premiums at the feet of Democrats:

Insurance company Horizon, in a blog post earlier this month, blamed increased premiums on a combination of factors — all tied to federal policy.

It said lax enforcement of the individual mandate — the requirement most people acquire insurance or pay a tax penalty — means the costs of care are spread among too few people.

Also: "In 2017, more than half of all individual purchasers in New Jersey received these CSR subsidies. Washington is no longer funding CSRs, which means that the cost of providing the subsidies will shift to policyholders. That cost increases the total average premium by 3.9 percent," Horizon wrote.

And it said reinstatement of the  federal Health Insurance Tax — waved as part of a tax holiday for a few years — increased the average price another 2.3 percent.

The company said that while "others have  abandoned New Jersey’s individual market," it would remain in New Jersey and try to control costs.

5 Things to Know about Obamacare enrollment

  • What is it? Health insurance plans offered for those who do not have have insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying health coverage
  • Deadline: Sign up begins on Wednesday morning online at healhcare.gov. The website is available 24 hours a day until Dec. 15. It will be closed for maintenance on Sundays morning from midnight until noon, expect for on Dec. 10.
  • Where:  Online at healhcare.gov, by phone at 800-318-2596. You can also enroll in person (click here to enter your Zip Code for a location) or with a paper application
  • What is covered: Office visits, hospital care including emergency services, prenatal, maternity and newborn careImmunizations and well-child care screenings, including mammograms, pap smears and prostate examinations, X-ray and laboratory services, mental illness and substance abuse services,various therapy services, prescription drugs, p ediatric vision services
  • Cost: Check plans for New Jersey at the  HealthCare.gov website

Reporting by the Associated Press was used in this post

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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