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The Affordable Care Act's fifth open enrollment period begins in less than a week. And it's going to be a wild one.

Expand chart

Data: Avalere Health; Cartograms: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

  • As the graphic above indicates, based on data from Avalere Health, premiums are up substantially. Nationwide, premiums for so-called "benchmark" plans will be 38% higher, on average, than last year. Those are the plans the federal government uses to determine the size of your premium subsidy.
  • Those benchmark plans are supposed to fall roughly in the middle of the options available through the exchanges. But because of the way states and insurance companies dealt with the uncertainty around the ACA's cost-sharing subsidies, many people will now be able to get more comprehensive "gold" plans for a lower premium than the middle-of-the-road benchmark.
  • When you shop around on HealthCare.gov, it now organizes plans based on your total monthly premium, after accounting for subsidies. This is a change — and one that consumer advocates, including some Obama administration veterans, were happy to see.

Sea change: With a shorter open-enrollment window, fewer intermediate deadlines and barely any money for consumer outreach, this enrollment season will look a lot different from the four before it.

  • The Health and Human Services Department has not set a goal to get a certain number of people to sign up this year, administration officials told the Washington Examiner. (Most analysts expect enrollment to drop.)

The countdown: Six days.

Go deeper

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. faces urgent anti-hacker crisis

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

The Biden administration is accelerating efforts to fill nearly 600,000 vacant cybersecurity positions in the public and private sectors bogging down efforts to protect digital infrastructure.

Why it matters: Following a deluge of ransomware attacks targeting critical government and corporate infrastructure this year, clogs in the talent pipeline are leaving federal, cash-strapped local governments and Big Business even more susceptible to hacking.

Mike Allen, author of AM
6 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

6 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.