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Open enrollment begins Sunday. Now is the time to explore the plans.

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Posted at 6:07 AM, Oct 28, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF-TV) — This weekend, we've got Halloween, the time change and the start of open enrollment. This is an important time for everyone who buys their health insurance through the federally mandated marketplace, and there's been a big change that could affect a lot of people.

There is a new carrier in the Nashville market, which means more competition among the insurance companies and more choices and perhaps better prices for you, which is why you'll want to start figuring out now which plan is best for you.

Everyone needs health insurance and if you are one of the 185,000 people in Tennessee who gets your insurance through, also known as the Federally Facilitated Marketplace through the Affordable Care Act, it's almost open enrollment time.

It starts this Sunday, November 1, and then you have until December 15 to make your choices and any changes.

"If you don’t enroll or re-enroll during the window for enrollment, during the open enrollment period, you are probably not going to have the coverage that you want or have coverage at all in 2021, Kevin Walters, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance, said.

Walters added that now is the time to explore the plans and find out what's available.

"There are changes. And if you live in the Nashville area, there is an additional insurance carrier who is going to be providing coverage in 2021. United Healthcare has entered the market," Walters shared.

That means there are now six companies offering health insurance here. Additionally, across the state, some carriers have dropped their prices.

The state Commerce and Insurance Department has copies of all of the plans now at its TN Dept of Commerce and Insurance website for you to review. And before open enrollment starts, the Department strongly urges folks to carefully go through these plans, compare them and ask questions.

"Our team advises consumers to shop around and to comparison-shop. You know, be an informed consumer and make a choice that fits your family. I think that flying on auto pilot is tempting, but we urge consumers to look around and do your due diligence and ask questions. There may be a plan that's cheaper and gives you the services that you were looking for," Walters said.

That being said, don't pick a plan solely based on the price of the premiums. You also need to factor in how much you'll have to pay in copays and deductibles. And you want to make sure that the plan you choose gives you access to doctors and hospitals near you.

If you have any questions about open enrollment, the Department of Commerce and Insurance can help you navigate the process. You can call them toll-free at 1-800-342-4029 or 615-741-2218.