Open enrollment for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) starts tomorrow, and ends December 15, allowing people half the time to enroll compared with previous years. There is much confusion and misinformation surrounding the ACA, particularly after recent executive orders by President Donald Trump to stop cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments.
In addition, budgets for ACA advertising and outreach have been slashed by the Trump administration this year, which will inevitably lead to fewer people getting covered.
Bridging the ACA outreach gap.
To help bridge the gap left by the reduction in outreach, advocacy groups such as Get America Covered are reaching out to inform the public about enrollment. And nursing groups such as the American Nurses Association have stated their commitment to informing patients on how and when they can enroll. Below is some information for patients who might be confused about the law and how it currently stands.
2017 ACA enrollment basics.
- The ACA is not dead. While there have been several recent attempts to dismantle the law, and its future remains uncertain, the ACA is still, in fact, the law of the land. The exchange is open and offering plans for 2018. People who don’t get insurance this year are still subject to minimum penalties of $695.00 for not having insurance.
- Trump’s CSR cuts have introduced uncertainty into the market, and are believed to have caused some insurance companies to spike premiums. But although premiums will go up in some cases, the law’s tax credits will still protect many customers from those increases (note: Trump’s executive order referred to “cost-sharing reductions” not “premium tax credits,” which will shield people from premium hikes. According to getamericacovered.org, these tax credits, available through HealthCare.gov, reduce most peoples’ premium cost to a total of $50 to $100 per month).
- According to HealthCare.gov, if you have a Silver plan and qualify for extra savings, the deductible can be thousands of dollars less than a typical Bronze plan’s. So you may actually end up spending less on health care overall if you enroll in a Silver plan.
- A growing number of consumers around the country will be able to get coverage in 2018 without paying any monthly premiums, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.
People can enroll and shop plans at www.healthcare.gov or by calling 1800-318-2596. To have someone talk you through the process and answer any questions, you can go to http://localhelp.healthcare.gov. And for additional information and resources, see https://getamericacovered.org.