Information for this blog came from the New York Times Saturday, March 25, 2017, and a CNN Money article written by Tami Luhby titled – Obamacare survived: What all this means for you.
The Republicans in the House failed to vote on the removal of Obamacare. Speaker the House, Paul D. Ryan was unable to muster enough votes for the defeat of Obamacare. What does this mean to you? It means that you will be able to keep your current plan for at least 2017. Health insurance companies have signed contracts with the exchanges to provide health insurance contracts throughout the 2017 year. Obamacare shouldn’t see any significant changes and insurance health premiums should remain the same for the rest of 2017.
The biggest change that could happen in 2018 is that Congress decides not to fund the cost-sharing subsidies that millions of Americans are currently using. If these cost-sharing subsidies are not funded, the help for reducing deductibles and co-pays for low-income consumers will most likely end. Lawmakers have not decided on how or if they will support these subsidies paid directly to insurance companies. If these subsidies are not funded, insurers might consider this a breach of contract and try to drop out of the exchanges immediately. This would leave many Americans without health insurance.
The federal government is still supporting Medicaid and Medicaid remains an open-ended entitlement thanks to the defeat of the Republican bill. Health Sec. Tom Price is encouraging governors to apply work requirements for recipients to receive Medicaid. Also being considered is that the beneficiaries of these programs pay a premium for the benefit.
You still have to buy health insurance or be subject to a penalty on your income tax. The individual mandate, which requires individuals to be insured, has not been lifted. Pres. Trump’s executive order has caused the IRS to loosen its oversight slightly, but financial burdens must be justified as to why you do not have health insurance. Insurance companies are lobbying hard to have this provision remain in Obamacare because it is an important way to encourage younger, healthy Americans sign up for health insurance. With the promise of removal of this mandate, 2017 saw a dramatic slowing of the number of Americans signing up for health coverage. Unfortunately, for the people who decided not to take out the health insurance – open enrollment is now closed, and they will have to wait for coverage until next January and pay the penalty.
Obamacare still has a very rocky road ahead for even though the Republicans have said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the law of the Land. The Trump administration will continue to chip away at the foundation of the ACA. Health insurance companies are looking to the Trump administration and lawmakers for answers to the funding of subsidies, so they can decide if they will participate in the exchanges in 2018. This could mean very few insurance companies will be willing to provide coverage for time is running out. Insurance companies have to start submitting their policies, and premium amounts to their state regulators in the next few weeks. Pres. Trump predicted the current healthcare program would explode. This could very well happen if no action is taken fund Obamacare quickly. We will need to see what happens over the next few weeks. Hopefully, our representatives in the Congress and Senate will keep our insurance needs in mind. Let your representative know how you feel on the subject.