Thousands signing up for health insurance through Affordable Care Act

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FLINT (WJRT) (11/02/2017) - Open enrollment for health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges began this week, and already thousands of people are taking advantage.

Health Alliance Plan officials say 3,000 people already looked into purchasing health insurance from the company in the first 24 hours of open enrollment.

The latest data from the Michigan League of Public Policy shows Michigan's uninsured rate has dropped by 45 percent under the Affordable Care Act.

Health Alliance Plan Sales Director Mike Jakubic said clients will be seeing higher premiums with the Affordable Care Act than with Medicare. On average premiums for the most popular plans are up 34 percent nationwide.

"A lot of people are going to look and they are going to automatically enroll and many of those might be OK," he said. "They are going to see a price increase, but once they shop they might not find anything better."

There are still ways for consumers to save cash and limit the premium increases.

"If you're not going to the doctors a ton then you need a plan that is going to give you one or two visits prior to your deductible," Jakubic said.

He recommended anyone looking for insurance should sign up sooner rather than later. Nearly every Sunday the HealthCare.gov website will be unavailable for 12 hours.

The open enrollment window to sign up also has been cut in half to 45 days. Once open enrollment ends, people are only allowed to sign up for or change their health insurance policy if they meet specific criteria.

"So, the advice I would give people is to shop early to make your decision," Jakubic said. "Look and get as much information as you can and don't wait until the last minute."