13 Oct 2017

President Trump Ends Health Insurance Subsidies

President Trump Ends Health Insurance Subsidies

This past week, President Donald Trump announced that his administration would immediately stop cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies. This will cripple Obamacare plans and the lives of millions of Americans.  

The announcement was made by the Health and Human Services Department on Thursday night and is expected to plunge the insurance sector into a state of chaos. The department said “we will discontinue these payments immediately,” according to ABC News and will undoubtedly cripple the Affordable Care Act.

What Are Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments?

When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, a key provision of the bill involved the federal government funneling billions of dollars to insurance companies across the country. These payments partially subsidize Obamacare plans and make them affordable to the public.

For the next six years, the Republican Party fought tooth and nail to try and halt these cost-sharing reduction payments and even took the government to court. When President Trump assumed office, he hinted these CSR payments would end shortly, yet the government continued to make these the payments on a monthly basis.

The next round of payments was due on October 20, according to various media outlets.

How Are Insurance Companies Reacting?

As dramatic as this seems, many insurance companies were anticipating this decision and enacted preventative measures. If we look at California, the state-based exchange Covered California adopted a 25 percent increase on their bronze and silver plans. These hikes safeguard insurance companies from experiencing a devastating financial loss due to the fact they will no longer be receiving federal funding.  

Although, experts within the industry are saying this abrupt decision could result in an increase in premiums for the next few years. This would make health insurance plans more expensive for Americans, which in turn would force more individuals to rely on programs like Medicaid, which also relies heavily on federal funding.

Political Turmoil

This report comes on the heels of Trump reportedly becoming frustrated with the lack of progress of the repeal and replace efforts made in Congress.

This report comes on the heels of Trump reportedly becoming frustrated with the Republican attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare in Congress. So, he’s decided to use his executive powers to bring this debate to the forefront of the American conscious and spur a renewed discussion amongst the political elite in Washington DC.

Who Will Be Affected?

According to the same report by ABC News, this decision will impact 60 percent of individuals who utilize Obamacare plans. The cost-sharing reduction payments equate to approximately $7 billion worth in federal funding and can reduce health insurance plans by thousands of dollars, therefore making them affordable.

We understand this news can be unsettling, and if you think you’re 2018 plan will be affected by this decision, you can always contact us here at HealthQuoteInfo. Contact one of our agents, and we’ll help you sort through all the facts and create an informed plan of action in regards to your health insurance. Phone us today at 855-614-5057.

04 Oct 2017

Nearly 9 Million Children Might Lose Their Health Insurance

Nearly 9 Million Children Might Lose Their Health Insurance

On September 30, 2017, Congress allowed a crucial program that provides health insurance to nearly nine million children to expire.

The program is called CHIP, which stands for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and was enacted in the 90s with support from First Lady Hillary Clinton and several prominent Republican politicians.

At the time, it was perceived as a momentous leap forward in regards to the American health insurance landscape and aimed at protecting those who are most vulnerable in our country.

Fast Forward and the Republican-controlled Congress has consciously allowed for the program to expire over the course of last weekend. This means federal funding could end abruptly, leaving millions without medical coverage.

There had been an announcement in early September by two senior politicians that proposed the extension of CHIP for another five years along with a boost in funding, but details now seem murky considering the Sept. 30 deadline has passed without any formal action.

How Did This Happen?

The country’s attention was focused solely on the Graham-Cassidy bill, which was a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans successfully created a media circus surrounding this topic, therefore diverting coverage to the impending CHIP expiry.

The Democratic Party fully mobilized to counter the proposed repeal-and-replace bill but failed to acknowledge or prevent the expiration of the program, according to The Intercept.

Who’s At Risk?

Nearly nine million individuals use CHIP across the United States. Those who mainly benefit from the program include impoverished children and pregnant women.

According to a report by Georgetown University, this program is particularly vital for women and children of color due to the fact they “are disproportionately represented among beneficiaries because they are more likely to be economically disadvantaged.”

What’s At Risk?

The current mood on Capitol Hill is peppered with anxiety, as nearly 10 states are at risk of running out of funding within the next one to three months. Another 22 states will run out of money within the next six months, forcing states to temporarily suspend the program until they receive the cash from Washington D.C.

CHIP receives approximately $14 billion per year in federal funding, which is significantly less compared to other federal programs like Medicaid and Medicare.

Uncertain Future

The federal needs to act quickly in order to regain a sense of control over the situation. Several political meetings are expected to take place this week in order to decide whether the government will continue to fund the program.

Still Have Questions?

Are you at risk of losing your CHIP insurance in the near future? We understand this may be a frightening period but you can always us and speak to one of our agents. They’re capable of answering all of your questions so you can understand the bigger picture. Call today at 855-614-5057.

03 Oct 2017

Understanding The Health Insurance Landscape In California

Understanding The Health Insurance Landscape In California

California has always been different compared to the rest of the country. Boasting a population of approximately 39 million people, it’s the most populous state in the nation with large cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. When the Affordable Care Act was signed by Barack Obama back in 2010, all states had to choose between a federal exchange or a state-based marketplace (otherwise known as an exchange). This meant either using HealthCare.gov or creating a unique exchange from scratch.

California opted for the latter, and Covered California was soon developed and has served the population for the last five years.

Therefore, Californian residents cannot go to healthcare.gov to shop around and purchase a plan. Instead, they’re required to visit Covered California.

When Is The Open Enrollment Period?

In California, the 2018 Open Enrollment Period begins on November 1, 2017 and ends on January 31, 2018. This means there are exactly 92 days to purchase a plan. The enrollment period differs from the rest of the country, as Californians have 47 additional days available. This is due to the fact California controls its own exchange, meaning it has the capabilities of deviating from the traditional Open Enrollment Period.

When Can Californians Enroll For Medicare?

Medicare enrollment begins on October 15, 2017 and ends on December 7, 2017, providing individuals with precisely 53 days to enroll.

Medicare is a federal program that essentially provides health insurance to following groups; individuals who are over the age of 65, individuals with certain disabilities (regardless of age), and those with End-Stage Renal Disease (otherwise known as kidney failure or ESRD).

What If You Can’t Afford Health Insurance?

If you’re a state resident and can’t afford to purchase a health insurance plan during the Open Enrollment Period, you can always utilize the Medi-Cal program. This is California’s version of Medicaid and CHIP, which is designed basic coverage to impoverished adults and children.

Individuals can enroll at any point throughout the year and you can even apply online through Covered California. Simply fill out the form and answer all the questions to find out if you’re eligible.

It’s important to note that Medi-Cal is funded by the federal government but is fully administered by the state. This is why there are differences when it comes to Medi-Cal/Medicaid coverage throughout each state.

Do You Have Questions?

Are you currently living in California and are thinking about shopping around for a health insurance plan? Do you have questions or concerns regarding this subject? Give us a call at 855-614-5057 and speak to one of our agents today! They’ll be able to explain everything in detail and address all of your queries.

02 Oct 2017

What Is EMTALA And How Does It Impact Emergency Care?

What Is EMTALA And How Does It Impact Emergency Care?

As several horrific tragedies have unfolded across our country over the last few years, this leads to the following question; who pays for the medical expenses when someone is brought to the hospital in an emergency situation? What happens if the individual does not have medical insurance? The answer is EMTALA, which stands for the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.

This was passed in 1986 as a part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (otherwise known as COBRA) in an attempt to overhaul the health insurance landscape. The goal of EMTALA is to ensure that all individuals are treated in an ER, regardless of their citizenship or their medical coverage status.

It’s important to note this only covers the emergency treatment portion, so after an individual is stabilized, regular medical costs are incurred. EMTALA was conceived during the 80s when certain hospitals would refuse emergency care due to the fact individuals didn’t have health insurance. This was commonly known as dumping, where hospitals would simply ‘dump’ patients to a public hospital to avoid losing money when treating an uninsured person in a critical condition.  

What’s Considered An Emergency?

There have been several amendments to the bill in order to expand and properly define an emergency situation.

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, an emergency is “a condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in placing the individual’s health [or the health of an unborn child] in serious jeopardy, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of bodily organs.”

Once a patient if fully stabilized, only then can they be transferred to another hospital. If an emergency room defies this protocol, they can be liable for a multitude of penalties, which include:

  • The doctor being fired or fined up to $50,000
  • The hospital can be fined approximately $50,000
  • The hospital can be sued in civil court

How Is EMTALA Funded?

It’s not, and it remains unmandated, which essentially means the federal government hasn’t paid a single penny since it was enacted in 1986. It’s the hospitals and emergency physicians that end up paying for these patients. According to a report that was commissioned 15 years ago by the American Medical Association, “emergency physicians provide more than 30 hours of EMTALA-related care each week.” Experts predict these figures have drastically increased over the past few years considering the nation has experienced an increase in gun violence and illicit drug abuse.

EMTALA is an important lifeline that inevitably saves the lives of millions of Americans every year. Let’s hope future governments recognize the importance of this bill and start to allocate some money so it’s properly funded.

We understand this subject can be a little intense, so if you have any questions about the health insurance landscape, feel free to give us a call at 855-614-5057 and speak to one of our agents today.

28 Sep 2017

Why Is Jimmy Kimmel Getting Political?

Why Is Jimmy Kimmel Getting Political?

Last week, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel became enthralled in a politicized debate with Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy. In the past seven days, Kimmel has used his opening monologues to criticize the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill, which spawned worldwide headlines and a strong response from Capitol Hill. Furthermore, over the last 36 hours, several senior Republicans have denounced the bill, quashing the chances of it being passed in Congress.

What Was The Graham-Cassidy Bill?

In case you’ve forgotten, the Republicans have been desperately trying to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. This past June, their efforts failed when the Better Care Reconciliation Act failed to pass in Congress, as it emerged that a few Republican defectors did not support the bill.

Fast-forward to this month, and the Republicans tried to push a new bill conceived by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana). The details of this bill were speculative and continuously shifting, but it appears it would’ve given more power to governors to make decisions in regards to their state’s health care.

How Is Jimmy Kimmel Involved?

In April, Jimmy Kimmel’s wife gave birth to their infant son Billy, who needed immediate heart surgery due to a rare cardiac condition. Billy thankfully survived the surgery and is now in a stable and healthy state, although will require to more surgeries in the future.

Kimmel stated that if he didn’t have money and access to health insurance, his son would’ve died.He also lamented the fact that the Affordable Care Act prohibited insurance companies from denying patients with pre-existing conditions.

Cassidy Vs. Kimmel

To provide some context, Bill Cassidy made an appearance on Kimmel’s talk show back in May. He assured Kimmel and the public that any future bill would protect those with pre-existing conditions.

When details of the bill were released to the media, it revealed Cassidy went back on his word. The Graham-Cassidy bill would allow insurers to discriminate freely against those with pre-existing conditions, meaning his speech on Jimmy Kimmel was simply hubris.

A war of words ensued via various media outlets, as Cassidy told CNN “I’m sorry he does not understand,” in reference to Kimmel, while the talk show host criticized him during his monologues.

This had a profound impact in regards to public opinion, as a recent poll revealed a mere 20 percent of Americans supported the Graham-Cassidy bill. It seems Kimmel has emerged victorious from this round, as the Republicans have to go back to the drawing board to conceive a new bill.

Meanwhile, Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the concept of  health care equality, especially as uncertainty looms in the distant future when it comes to the Affordable Care Act.

If you still have questions after reading this article, we totally understand you! Feel free to call one of our agents who can explain everything in detail and help you choose a plan during the Open Enrollment Period. Phone 855-614-5057 today.

27 Sep 2017

Chaos on Capitol Hill – Republicans Discard Graham-Cassidy Bill

Chaos on Capitol Hill – Republicans Discard Graham-Cassidy Bill

The proposed Graham-Cassidy bill has lost support from key senior Republicans, meaning it won’t pass a vote that was expected to take place this week.

Over the course of the past 24 hours, Senator Susan Collins from Maine publically declared the bill was “deeply flawed,” according to a report by BBC News. This comes on the heels of President Donald Trump saying he would promise money to the state of Maine in a bid to incentivize Collins.

This news presents itself as a huge setback for the Trump administration and the Republican party, who’ve tried unsuccessfully for months to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Keep in mind, Donald Trump campaigned heavily on the promise to get rid of Obamacare, and this latest information demonstrates that he’s incapable of doing so.

There were other senior Republicans who came out against the bill, which includes Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky. The main reason why these high-profile senators rejected the proposal is that it slashes Medicaid funding drastically, which serves as an important lifeline for millions of impoverished Americans.

The bill was written by Sens. Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and was seen as a last-ditch effort. This is because a previous bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act was voted down at the beginning of summer, revealing a divide amongst the Republican party.

Details of the Graham-Cassidy bill were murky and very unclear from the beginning. According to several reports in the media, the bill would allow insurance companies to discriminate against individuals based on the pre-existing conditions, which is something Obamacare outlawed.

Public opinion also decreased dramatically for the bill, especially since talk show host Jimmy Kimmel publically condemned the bill and called out Senator Bill Cassidy for allegedly lying on television. The politician had appeared on Kimmel’s show in the past and said he would ensure a new health care bill would protect those with pre-existing conditions.

Cassidy’s appearance came shortly after Kimmel announced his newborn son was born with a rare heart condition and made a public plea that Americans deserve health care equality. A recent CBS poll also indicated that approximately 20 percent of Americans approved of the bill, while a whopping 52 percent were firmly against it.

The Senate held the first meeting on Monday to discuss the proposed bill but it was swarmed by protesters. Approximately 181 people were arrested and removed from the hearing room, while many protesters were reportedly in wheelchairs.

We understand that the health care landscape is extremely complex and confusing. If you have any questions, we strongly recommend phoning one of our agents here at HealthQuoteInfo. Simply dial 855-614-5057 and get your questions answered today!