14 Mar 2018

Will Republicans Repeal Obamacare?

Will Republicans Repeal Obamacare?

The 2016 presidential election brought sweeping changes to the country, as the GOP gained a majority in both chambers of Congress. President Trump even said last year “I thought that when I won I would go to the Oval Office, sit down at my desk, and there would be a health care bill on my desk, to be honest.”

This statement couldn’t be further from the truth, as several failed attempts in Congress yielded no concrete results. So today, we’re going to explore whether Republicans will repeal and replace Obamacare.

Understanding The Political Landscape

Before we dive into this topic, it’s important to know how politics work in this country. Firstly, Congress is divided into two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The former is comprised of 435 voting members from across the nation, and the goal of this chamber is to propose bills that are then approved by the Senate. The Republicans currently control the House with 238 seats.

On the other hand, the Senate is referred to as the upper chamber, and 100 Senators elected from each state form it. The role of this chamber is to approve legislation that comes from the House. The GOP also controls the Senate with 51 seats.

To add another layer to the mix, the President has the power to veto laws passed by Congress and can use his power to propose legislation to the House of Representatives. The President can also pass laws through executive orders, although these could be countered via the court system. This political system acts like a well-oiled machine, with checks and balances to ensure no individual has absolute power. But how does that apply to health insurance?

Republican Domination & Disparity

The Republicans now control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Over the last 14 months, there have been several attempts to repeal, replace, or modify the Affordable Care Act, but each proposal has been defeated in the Senate. Health insurance is a divisive topic in this country, and even senior Republicans are divided on how to proceed.

The “Skinny Repeal”

After several attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, House majority leader Mitch McConnell proposed what critics called “a skinny repeal” in Summer 2017. This would keep the fundamental pillars of Obamacare, but a report by the Congressional Budget Office indicated this proposal would increase the number of uninsured Americans to 15 million over the next year.

The debate reached a breaking point on July 27, 2017, in the early hours of the morning when Republican Senator John McCain struck down the proposal during a dramatic vote. McCain along with fellow Republicans Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) stated they couldn’t support a bill that could potentially leave millions without coverage. So it was back to the drawing board.

The Graham-Cassidy Bill

Fast-forward to September 2017 and Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) sponsored a bill to repeal Obamacare. The proposal made headlines across the country because it planned on shaking up America’s health insurance system.

One of the controversial aspects of the bill included a cap on Medicaid funding and a redistribution of funds across all 50 states. Several critics saw this as an attack on the country’s poorest individuals. The bill didn’t even make it to a vote as Lindsey Graham announced he would be abandoning the bill in late September.

Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments

President Trump halted something called cost-sharing reduction payments (also known as CSRs) in October 2017. We’ve touched on this topic before here at HealthQuoteInfo, but we’re going to explain things again in detail.

CSRs were monthly payments made by the Obama Administration to several insurance companies across the country. The funds were worth billions of dollars, and they substantially reduced the premiums of ACA plans and made them affordable. Since President Trump announced his decision, premiums have increased across the board. Insurance companies were forced to increase the cost of premiums to compensate for the lack of funding.

This tactic is a way of undermining the Affordable Care Act without going through Congress. It doesn’t fully repeal the bill, but it causes a domino effect that results in fewer Americans enrolling in this program.

Trump’s New Proposal

Considering it’s hard to pass a new repeal-and-replace bill through Congress, Trump came up with a new proposal last month. The Department of Health and Safety announced they would be extending short-term insurance plans from the traditional three-month period, to 364 days.

This proposal would serve as direct competition to Obamacare plans, and experts suggest many young individuals would be enticed by these plans. Although nothing is set in stone yet, this is another attempt to partially dismantle the ACA.

The Future

Here at HealthQuoteInfo, we try to look at things from a practical and logical point of view. The Affordable Care Act has created deep divisions amongst the GOP, and it’s unclear if they’ll repeal and replace it in the future. However, the President Trump can continue to undermine the program, and many experts predict this will impact enrollment figures.

This subject is complicated but if you have any questions or concerns about health insurance, give our agents a call at 855-614-5057 or visit our website.

06 Mar 2018

Trump Creates A New Obamacare Alternative

Trump Creates A New Obamacare Alternative

Last month, the Trump administration proposed a new alternative to the Affordable Care Act. The news sent shockwaves across the country, as many experts began to discuss how this decision would impact millions of Americans. So today, we’re going to take a closer look at this announcement and deconstruct the headline.

What is this new alternative?

On February 20, the Department of Health and Safety announced a new proposal to extend the duration of short-term insurance plans to 364 days. Americans could then bypass the federal or state-based marketplaces and purchase a plan that virtually lasts an entire year.

Under the current model, short-term insurance plans only last up to 90 days. They tend to attract young Americans who don’t have pre-existing conditions and provide what many experts call “gap coverage,” meaning it’s not viewed as a long-term solution.

Projected effects

As previously mentioned, this proposal bypasses Obamacare, which means that insurance companies can discriminate against applicants with pre-existing conditions.

Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could reject applicants if they battled a severe illness in the past. For example, a middle-aged woman who conquered breast cancer 10 years ago could get her health insurance application rejected. This is because insurers view this woman as a liability because her cancer may return, and that would be costly for the company.

Impact on Obamacare

It’s no secret that Obamacare premiums have increased dramatically over the years, meaning the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable or accessible. Coupled with the President’s decision to slash the marketing budget of the bill by 90 percent, the future doesn’t look too bright.

These extended short-term plans would attract millions of young, healthy Americans away from Obamacare plans because they’re a lot cheaper. As a result, a disproportionate amount of unhealthy individuals would remain using ACA plans, therefore driving up the price of premiums.

Disadvantages of short-term plans

Also, short-term plans are different from annual plans when it comes to coverage. The former doesn’t provide mental, maternity, prescription drug or preventative care.

Short-term plans differ from annual plans in terms of coverage. The former does not cover preventative, maternity, mental health, and prescription drug coverage, meaning you’ll still have to pay out of pocket. According to CNN, these plans can also come with annual or lifetime limits, which is capped at $1 million. So if you exceed this maximum, the insurance company will force you to pay the outstanding balance.

It’s clear the health insurance landscape is changing rapidly in this country, and short-term health insurance plans seem like an interesting alternative. If you’re thinking about purchasing one of these plans, give one of our agents a call at 855-614-5057 or visit HealthQuoteInfo.com.

01 Mar 2018

What Is Universal Health Care?

What Is Universal Health Care?

As Obamacare premiums continue to rise, more Americans are talking about something called universal health care (abbreviated as UHC). This concept has been implemented in more than 50 countries around the world. But what is this system and how does it differ from the American model? Today, we’re going to explore this topic and dive into the details.

What Is UHC Exactly?

According to the World Health Organization, UHC provides “promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services” to citizens and legal residents of a given country. This means they can go to the doctor’s office without having to pay a hefty bill at the end of their visit.

Here’s a list of countries that have UHC, according to Nasdaq:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Singapore
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom

How can these countries afford universal health care? Well, several nations including Canada and France fund their programs by collecting money through income taxes based on a stratified system. This means high-income earners pay more compared to low-income individuals.

Obamacare Is Not The Same As Universal Health Care

When the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, many Americans thought this was President Obama’s idea of implementing UHC. This couldn’t be further from the truth. As the name of the bill suggests, the objective of the ACA was to provide Americans access to affordable health insurance plans. It also put an end to discriminatory practices that insurance companies employed against those with pre-existing conditions. The ACA, however, does not provide universal health coverage to all Americans, which is why the US is not on the list above.

Will The US Ever Implement UHC?

It’s quite unlikely. Most Americans view universal health care as a product of Western European socialism. According to an article in The Conversation, Americans “have a strong belief in classical liberalism and the idea that the government should play a limited role in society.”

Last fall, Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled a plan that would introduce UHC under a single system to nearly 323 million Americans. The bill also had the backing of 15 Democrats, yet faced staunch opposition from fellow politicians and the media, proving the country isn’t ready to accept this concept.

Whether you’re for or against UHC, it’s crucial we continue to talk about the issue of affordable health coverage in this country. If you’re looking to purchase a plan or have any questions, feel free to contact one of our agents at 855-614-5057 or visit our website.

28 Feb 2018

How Long Can A Child Stay On Their Parent’s Health Insurance?

How Long Can A Child Stay On Their Parent’s Health Insurance?

Let’s face it; millennials face an uphill challenge in this day and age. Imagine graduating college with a student debt equivalent to a small fortune, then struggle to find a job in the real world, and face the pressures of social media? It’s a tough gig!

On top of that, millions of young adults are nervous about the future of healthcare. With Obamacare premiums to continue to rise, millions of Americans are worried about how they will obtain coverage.

Although, there is a percentage of young adults that continue to utilize their parent’s health insurance. But what’s the cut off age? Today, we’re diving into this topic and touching on all the basics!

The Special Number

The magic number is 26. Young adults can remain on their parent’s plans until the ripe old age of 26.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Services, an individual under the age of 26 can continue to receive coverage from their parent’s plan even if they’re married, employed, study at a financial institution, or live at a different address.

Some insurance plans have specific rules and regulations though, so we recommend to read the fine print carefully or give the insurance company a call to get all the relevant information.

What Happens When I Turn 26?

As soon as the clock strikes midnight and you’re officially 26, you can no longer use your parent’s health insurance. On the bright side, when this situation does occur, young adults qualify for special enrollment. This means you need to fill out a special application and if it’s approved, you can buy a plan through the marketplace without having to wait for the Open Enrollment Period.

What If My Parents Don’t Have Health Insurance?

Well, don’t worry! There are a few other options out there for you.

The best option is to purchase a health plan during the Open Enrollment Period through the marketplace. OEP occurs once a year, and it’s when most Americans sign up or renew an annual health insurance plan.

What If I Can’t Afford Health Insurance?

This is a real concern for millions of young adults across the country. Luckily, there’s a government program called Medicaid, which provides essential coverage to those who can’t afford it. Each state has different regulations regarding Medicaid, so check out their website for more details.

23 Feb 2018

What To Do If You Missed The Open Enrollment Period

What To Do If You Missed The Open Enrollment Period

It’s December 16th, 2017 and you wake up in a state of panic. You’ve missed the Open Enrollment Period by a few hours, and you don’t know what to do. Take a deep breath, brew a cup of coffee, and get ready to do some reading! Today, we’re going to explore some health insurance alternatives.


Many young adults fail to realize they can utilize their parent’s health insurance plan. If you’re under the age of 26 and still live at home, it’s possible to opt into your mother or father’s plan. Naturally, it’s better if you ask their permission beforehand, and we always recommend reading the fine print to fully understand the terms of the agreement.

Special Enrollment

If you’ve experienced a life-changing event, then you can purchase a health program during the Open Enrollment Period. Instead, you’ll have to enroll for special enrollment, which involves filling out a form on HealthCare.gov.

In the insurance world, when individuals or households experience a life-changing event, it’s called a qualifying event. We’ve written down the basic examples below:

  • Getting married
  • Having a baby or adopting a child
  • Getting a divorce or separation
  • Moving to a new ZIP code
  • Losing your job

It’s important to note that you have 60 days after the qualifying event to apply for special enrollment; otherwise, you’ll have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period. Once you get approval, you can then shop around for a plan either in the state-based exchange or the federal marketplace (depending on where you live.)


Say you can’t afford to purchase a health insurance plan during the Open Enrollment Period, what do you do? Medicaid is a federal program that provides basic health care coverage to millions of impoverished Americans. While the program is fully funded by Washington DC, each state has control over the program.

What does this mean? Depending on where you live, the criteria to qualify for the program may be different. There’s also no Open Enrollment Period for Medicaid, meaning Americans can apply throughout the year. According to recent estimates, more than 74 million individuals utilize both Medicaid and CHIP, which we’re going to discuss in the next section.


This program is similar to Medicaid, but it focuses solely on providing low-cost health insurance to children and teens. Families who don’t qualify for Medicaid often use this program, which covers basic health and dental coverage. Just like Medicaid, you don’t need to wait for the Open Enrollment Period.

Short-Term Insurance

If you don’t qualify for special enrollment or one of the federal programs mentioned above, you can always apply for a short-term plan. These plans are sold through private insurance companies and are useful if there’s a medical emergency.

Although, it’s important to note these types of plans only last up to three months, so this is not a long-term solution. Many Americans are opting for short-term medical insurance because it’s affordable compared to the skyrocketing Obamacare premiums.

If you’re looking to explore one of these alternatives, feel free to contact one of our agents here at HealthQuoteInfo at 855-614-5057.

20 Feb 2018

Trump Administration Continues to Pursue Avenues to Relieve People of the ACA’s Individual Mandate

Trump Administration Continues to Pursue Avenues to Relieve People of the ACA’s Individual Mandate

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, nicknamed Obamacare, was signed into law March 2010. The act’s major provisions came into effect in 2014. It was the most sweeping health care reform in America since the passage of Medicaid and Medicare back in 1965. Major changes to the individual insurance marketplace and an expansion of Medicaid Eligibility managed to provide coverage to an estimated twenty to twenty-four million additional people during the year 2016 alone.

In spite of the benefits that have been received by millions under the act, one of the least popular provisions of the act has been the individual mandate. This is a requirement that every American who is not insured through employer-sponsored plans, Medicaid, Medicare, or other private or public program must purchase insurance or pay a tax penalty.

Republicans have been the most vocal opponents of the individual mandate and have fought tooth and nail to find ways to repeal the act altogether, and in particular, eliminate the individual mandate. The Trump administration, through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 which was signed in December 2017, has taken a huge leap to chip away at Obamacare. The act repeals the individual mandate as of 2019.

That still leaves 2018 to be dealt with. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has endeavored to work on guidance aimed to increase the exemptions under which people would justifiably not show that they are insured when filing their year-end income tax returns. This could help scores of taxpayers who are still uninsured due to the increased cost of insurance plans under Obamacare. The IRS reports that six and a half million taxpayers paid the fine for not being insured in the year 2015.

The tax penalties can be hefty, starting at $347.50 per child, $695 for adults and going up to as high as $2,085 for a family. There is a cap of 2.5% of family income or the family maximum of $2,085 – whichever would be higher.

Currently, the exemptions to avoid paying the penalty are:

Hardship Exemptions

Those who are homeless, filed for bankruptcy, are facing eviction or a foreclosure or received a notice from a utility company that their service was being shut-off fall under the “Hardship Exemption.”  Additionally, those who suffered domestic violence, the death of a family member or a natural disaster also qualify to be exempt from the mandate.

Other hardships that also qualify for exemption consideration are; a) Tax filers who had medical expenses they couldn’t pay which resulted in substantial debt. b) Those who experienced unforeseen expenses due to caring for a family member who was aging, who was ill or was disabled. c) Your grandfathered individual insurance plan was canceled because it failed to meet the requirement for the ACA. d). Those eligible for subsidies, but the insurance company failed to provide them, and insurance was not available as a result.

Income Related Exemptions

If you don’t earn enough income during the year to be required to file a tax return, you will not have to pay a penalty.

For those whose costs of insurance, whether through a job-based or a Marketplace plan, would cost in excess of 8.16% of the household’s income, can qualify for either the Job-based affordability exemption or the Marketplace affordability exemption.

Group Membership Exemptions

Members of qualified health care sharing ministries will not face penalties.

Members of federally recognized tribes or those eligible for services through an Indian Health Services Provider are also exempt from penalties.

Exemptions Related to Health Coverage

Residents of states that did not expand its Medicaid program and the tax filer’s income falls below 138% of that state’s poverty level are exempt.

Legal Status Based Exemptions

Tax filers will not face penalties if they were incarcerated or residing abroad. U.S. Tax laws apply to all income earners, whether they are here legally or not. Undocumented immigrants must file a return if the minimum earnings threshold to file is met, however, they are excluded from the coverage requirement. They are also unable to obtain insurance through the marketplaces set up by the ACA.

Over 12 million people qualified under one or another of these exemptions for the tax year 2016. For the tax year 2017 and 2018, it will be even easier to duck the tax penalty. The Internal Revenue Service has backed off on enforcement of the mandate. Obamacare required the IRS to withhold returns if the taxpayer did not provide coverage information on the return. However, they had not enforced it rigorously. The IRS had previously announced that in the tax year 2017, they would step up enforcement, but with president Trump’s pressure, they have now retracted that statement.

It is still unclear what the final list of expanded exemptions will be, the CMS has not announced when they will complete their work on the guidance.

To learn more about qualified plans under Obamacare or Trumpcare, or additional insurance options, contact the experts at HealthQuoteInfo.com at 855-614-5057. Our licensed health insurance experts will be happy to answer any questions you have.