Are They Replacing Affordable Care Act?

Affordable Care Act

These are very uncertain times when it comes to your health insurance and the incoming administration. Daily, we are being bombarded by the news media claiming that Obamacare will be repealed. It is hard to know what is factual or what is it just media hype. Brownell Insurance is here to help bring some clarity to the current health care state of affairs.

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law, also known Obamacare. The new law required immediate changes and regulatory rules that rippled through the insurance industry. The ACA did not take effect until 2014 and health insurance became mandatory for all US citizens. If you were not covered under a group policy or your individual health policy, you would receive a penalty when you did your 2014 federal income taxes.

As outlined in the ACA health insurance timeline, it takes time and systematic processes for these changes to happen. The proposed changes /repeal of the ACA, if approved, will most likely not take effect in 2017. Most of these changes will probably not even be possible until 2018 or 2019. It will take time for repeals to be put into place. It is important to have patience and not panic during these times of uncertainty.

Washington, Rep. Tom Price, the man chosen to lead the Department of Health and Human Services by President-elect Donald Trump, made a promise to “make sure that nobody falls through the cracks” if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if repealed. He set a goal to increase the number of people, who have health insurance.

During his nomination hearing, Rep. Tom Price was very vague with his description of the proposed health insurance plan. He believes that the individual states “know best” on how to handle their Medicaid beneficiaries. During his four hours of testimony, Rep. Tom Price said he supported many of the objectives of the ACA but didn’t see why the federal government had to specify so many details of insurance coverage in the act of Congress and a myriad of regulations, according to an article in New York Times.

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Some of the positives of the ACA that I hope Congress will be able to still make available to us are:

  1. Young people under the age of 26 can remain on their parents’ health insurance policies regardless if they live at home or away, get married, or have group insurance available to them at work.
  2. Having pre-existing conditions not affect the person from obtaining health insurance or making them pay a very high health insurance premium.
  3. Keeping the maximum out-of-pocket benefit that limits what a patient is expected to pay for medical expenses under $8000 per year.

Some of the negatives of the ACA that I hope Congress will be able to correct are:

  1. Not being able to go out of your state for your primary care physician or your preferred hospital. We should be able to go to our desired doctor and hospital as long as they are in the insurance companies’ network, regardless of the state they practice in.
  2. Very little competition in the state by health insurance companies. We are currently limited to Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim, Harvard Pilgrim Elevate and Minuteman for our health insurance companies. To make pricing more competitive, we should have more than just these few insurance companies to choose from for health insurance.
  3. Get rid of the website – Healthcare.gov and the necessity of doing business with the federal government for our health insurance. Insurance companies should be able to speak directly with their insureds and not have to have approval from Healthcare.gov to help with simple problems, such as billing updates, lapses, minor corrections on the information of the insured or many other small changes. Now it takes a tremendous amount of time to make the small corrections for we must call healthcare.gov to make the correction and wait for them to notify the insurance company of the change.
  4. Make the open enrollment period a little longer and not over the holiday season.

It will be interesting over the next few of months or probably more realistically over the next few years, how the Trump administration and GOP-dominated Congress will reshape and/or repeal the Affordable Care Act. Hopefully, sane minds will prevail and we, the American public will be able to obtain good, affordable health insurance. Over the next few months, I will keep my clientele as informed as possible as to what is happening on the health insurance battleground. I hope you will follow this blog and respond to it when you feel it necessary. I am always interested to hear your thoughts and dedicated to finding answers to your many questions.

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