Despite Republican Efforts to Take Away Health Insurance from Millions, ACA Plans Open for Business
Enrollment started Wednesday under the Affordable Care Act which has so far survived efforts by Trump and extremist Republicans to kill the health insurance program for low- and moderate-income people in our country.
Those efforts may actually help people afford plans because the amount the federal government is paying to offset price increases is rising. About 80% of people will be able to find a plan for 2018 for under $75 a month, up from 71% last year.
The Congressional Budget Office expects total enrollment to reach 11 million in 2018, up from around 10 million who obtained and paid for coverage in 2017, but the CBO also estimates that about 4 million fewer will sign up than previously forecast because of Trump policies.
“The big thing for people to know is that open enrollment is happening,” said Jim Carnes, policy director at Alabama Arise. “The Affordable Care Act is still the law, and the discounted plans are still available.”
People have until Dec. 15 to shop for a new plan, just half the time they had under former President Barack Obama.
Choices will be more limited in some areas after insurers dropped out of the market amid Trump’s failed efforts to repeal and then sabotage the Affordable Care Act. In Missouri, the only type of plans available are exclusive provider organizations which typically do not allow for out-of-network visits.
Trump’s efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act will hit the middle class hardest. Individuals and families that don’t qualify for subsidies face premiums 17% to 35% higher next year, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
People who earn between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level, about $24,600 to $98,400 for a family of four, qualify for help paying premiums from the federal government.
Obama and others are trying to promote enrollment after Trump slashed the advertising budget. In Illinois, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker is paying about $1 million to run radio and digital ads.
Trump tweeted about getting rid of the individual mandate, the requirement that people have health insurance. This would save the federal government money, which they could use on tax cuts for the rich, because fewer low- and moderate-income people would be getting money to help them pay for health insurance.
Thirty-nine states rely on healthcare.gov. Eleven states and the District of Columbia run their own Affordable Care Act websites and marketplaces, and insurance shoppers in those states won’t be as affected by Trump’s efforts to kill off the program. Thousands of enrollment specialists will continue to help consumers in California and New York.