Despite uncertainty ACA enrollment on the rise in Utah

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Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – The Affordable Care Act is under fire and is facing certain demise, but that isn’t stopping Utahns from signing up for coverage.

Enrollment numbers are on the rise in our state.

“We’re continuing to see a surge in enrollment growth in Utah. 186,000 Utahns signed up for insurance by the end of last year, which is up 23% from where we were the year before,” said Jason Steven with Utah Health Policy Project.

That puts our state near the top of the country for growth.

“Number two in the country for overall enrollment growth,” said Stevenson.

Across the country enrollment is up 200,000 to 8.8 million.

This, as republicans in Washington move forward with the promise to repeal the controversial law.

Thursday, Senator, Orrin Hatch had the floor to address the issue.

“Under Obamacare patients have fewer options and reduced access to health care providers. And under Obamacare the American people have been hit with steep taxes, burdensome mandates and a health care system that simply does not meet their needs,” said Hatch, (R) Utah.

There are some elements of the ACA republican lawmakers say they support, like no pre-existing conditions and allowing kids to stay on their parents plan until they turn 26.

Representative, Chris Stewart says those are likely to be included in the replacement plan along with some new ideas.

“Allowing insurance across state lines to be bought, reform on Health Savings Accounts, which are very valuable resources for people,” said Stewart, (R) Utah. “Tort reform is probably going to be part of it and then a tax credit that makes it more affordable.”

Stewart expects the repeal to happen immediately, but says the transition will take a few years.

“We’re not going to pull insurance away from people. There is going to be a transition period and there is going to be at least two years, maybe three years to prepare for any changes,” said Stewart.

ACA advocates will be keeping a close eye on the process.

“The consumer protections are what we’re most concerned about, as well as keeping the cost down and keeping the subsidies flowing to states like Utah,” said Stevenson.

Open enrollment closes on January 31, 2017.

Anyone who doesn’t have insurance after that will be hit with a fine.

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Glen Mills

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...