The New York Times, November 18, 2015
by ABBY GOODNOUGH
WASHINGTON — For 2014, the first year she got health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, Gail Galen chose a plan from a new nonprofit insurer, Oregon’s Health CO-OP. But the price jumped for 2015, so Ms. Galen switched to a policy from a different company, LifeWise Health Plan.
Now, with open enrollment for 2016 underway, she is preparing to leap to her third insurer in three years — and stocking up on whiskey, she says, only half in jest, as she braces for another round of shopping on the federal insurance marketplace.
“Every year I feel like I’m starting all over again, and I just dread it,” said Ms. Galen, 63, of Warrenton, Ore. “My stress level just shoots up.”
Over the past two years, the Affordable Care Act has created entirely new markets for health insurance, and a new way of buying it, via online exchanges that allow comparison shopping. They have brought coverage to nine million people, many of whom could not afford it or were rejected by insurers before. But these new markets have also seen sharp price swings, or changes in policies, that are driving many consumers to switch plans each year.