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Every Utahn on Obamacare has a choice for health insurance in 2018

Every Utahn on Obamacare has a choice for health insurance in 2018 (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) We usually get bills after we sign up for a service -- not before. But bills will be showing up in the mailbox of tens-of-thousands of Utahans insured through the healthcare marketplace. It is a legitimate bill, but that doesn't mean you should pay it, at least not until you've done your homework.

Karen Thurber is one of 70,000 Utahns who currently have Molina health insurance through the marketplace. That won't be an option next year. Molina is pulling out.

But now, all 70,000 are getting bills from Selecthealth telling them they have automatically been enrolled in a Selecthealth plan and can simply pay up to avoid losing coverage.

"I was shocked at first,” Thurber said of the bill that shows her monthly premium nearly doubling to $1082.88.

Language in the bill says Thurber does have options, though, of their other "Selecthealth plans."

But Karen says she thinks the bills are deceptive because they don’t tell the whole story.

Randall Serr, Director of Take Care Utah, says he can see why Thurber feels misled.

Take Care Utah is a non-profit that helps people shop for health insurance on the marketplace for free. They have been fighting to get out the message that shopping around is important.

"Everybody in Utah, every single person that qualifies for the marketplace, has at least two options to go with," he said.

Selecthealth is not the only game in town. In fact, the University of Utah has expanded its coverage to all of Utah's counties, he said.

In an email, a Selecthealth spokesperson wrote that that people should shop around, writing, "There are many options for coverage."

Selecthealth rejects the notion the company is being misleading with the letters, writing, "The letter encouraged the recipients to shop the marketplace and consider their options before paying the premium."

Thurber says she thinks sending the information attached to a bill was “a marketing ploy,” and she is glad she shopped around rather than just paying the bill she got in the mail.

“A plan with University of Utah healthcare is far more beneficial for me than [the Selecthealth] plan and it costs almost $300 per month less," she said.

What consumers don't want to do is just ignore the letter. Those who do could see their health coverage may lapse.

The marketplace open enrollment period is open now and runs through December 15, 2017.

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