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Consumer Reports: ACA health care open enrollment

The Healthcare.gov website is seen on a computer screen Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017, in Washington. The Trump administration says consumers can start previewing plans and premiums online for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in 2018. Open enrollment starts Nov. 1. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

There’s been a lot of talk about repealing and replacing Obamacare, but that hasn’t happened. ACA is still the law and the tax credits for 2018 are still intact, which means if you buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges, or want to get coverage, you need to pay attention to the upcoming open enrollment period.

Americans who don’t receive health insurance through their jobs, Medicaid or Medicare, now is the time of year to choose an individual health insurance plan to be covered in 2018.

For most people, you must have coverage or pay a penalty.

Open enrollment for the Health Care Exchange in Oregon closes December 15.

In Washington, it closes January 15.

Choosing a health care plan can be a complex decision. Consumer Reports suggests these strategies.

“With all the earlier uncertainty about the ACA's future, some insurance companies pulled out of the ACA exchanges, but every county in the U.S. will have at least one insurer offering coverage. But in many places, your options may be different than they were last year,” said Donna Rosato, Consumer Reports money editor.

Even if you can re-enroll in the same plan if you had one in 2017, it might not be your best option.

It’s important to know that tax credits can be used for any exchange plan, but credit amounts change year-to-year based on the second lowest silver plan and your income, which may have changed, so it's best to compare plans.

Start your research early to give yourself enough time to weigh all your options.

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