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It’s Open Enrollment Time For Covered California

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Photo by jennyjo71 / Flickr

A stethoscope on a laptop.

Officials say the cost of health plans may be rising, but consumers can save money if they shop around.

Open enrollment for Covered California begins Tuesday.

From now until the end of January 2017, consumers can renew their health insurance coverage, switch plans, or newly enroll through the state's health insurance exchange.

This year, the Covered California website has an upgraded shopping tool that allows consumers to compare up to 12 health plans at once. Consumers can filter their choices by quality ratings, out-of-pocket costs, plan type and other options.

Annual deductibles can top $6,000. But Covered California’s Executive Director Peter Lee said people need to read the fine print.

For example, most people choose a silver plan.

“With that plan, no visit to a primary care doctor, no visit to a specialist, is subject to a deductible," Lee explained. "So, understanding what’s subject to a deductible and what’s not, is a big deal.”

The networks of doctor and hospitals vary from plan to plan. Here again, Lee said consumers need to do their research.

“Every one of our plans in the San Diego area has good networks of hospitals, good networks of hospitals. But they’re different," Lee said. "Some will have Sharp, some will have Scripps, some will have University of California. No one will have everyone in it."

About 1.4 million people are enrolled in a Covered California health plan.

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