09 Jan 2018

Health Insurance Challenges For Millennials

Health Insurance Challenges For Millennials

In 2018, millions of young Americans will turn 26, meaning they’re no longer eligible to reap the benefits of their parent’s insurance program. Yet finding a health insurance plan that suits their needs is seemingly quite challenging and expensive in this day and age. So today, we’re exploring the topic of millennials and their challenging search for health coverage.

The Affordable Care Act

Signed into effect in 2010 by the Obama administration, the Affordable Care Act should be the first option for millions of millennials searching for a health insurance plan.

But this program remains a contentious topic. The Republican Party has tried to pass numerous repeal-and-replace bills, while the Trump administration has successfully undermined the foundations of the ACA.

Reduced Marketing Budget

In August 2017, the White House slashed the marketing budget of the ACA by 90 percent. This means fewer Americans would be exposed to advertisements during the Open Enrollment Period and could potentially lead to fewer enrollees.

Reduced Enrollment Period

The 2018 Enrollment Period was also a lot shorter compared to previous years, and many political analysts saw this as another tactical decision to try and undermine the ACA. The period only lasted 45 days, compared to the traditional 90 days under the Obama Administration.

The Consequences

These cuts ultimately affect millennials in the short-term. Young adults would have benefited from an increased Open Enrollment Period and sufficient advertisements that were both informative and educative. Though the latest figures haven’t been released, some analysts believe that millennials will now represent a larger portion of uninsured Americans.

Attracting Young Americans 

There’s always been a challenge to attract young adults to sign up for an insurance program. Under the Obama Administration, much of the $90 million budget was spent on online advertisements that were a collaborative effort with a list of national organizations.

This included the sponsored Facebook posts with Planned Parenthood and Young Invincibles, which helped promote Obamacare plans to millions of Americans.

This is in stark contrast to this year, where the government did not collaborate with any organization, and the $10 million budget prevented the opportunity to create a national campaign.

Issues Regarding Affordability

The primary objective of the Affordable Care Act is self-explanatory; it’s meant to provide accessible coverage to all Americans. But the current administration has also cut federal funding to insurance companies across the country, which partially subsidizes plans for millions of citizens.

This means insurance companies are forced to increase their prices to compensate for this lack of funding, making certain plans no longer affordable. This has impacted millennials, as they typically don’t make a lot of money after graduating from college. Consequentially, this has forced millennials to apply for Medicaid, which provides basic coverage for millions of impoverished Americans.

If you’re a millennial and you’re struggling to navigate this complex health insurance landscape, feel free to contact one of our agents. At HealthQuoteInfo, our staff is equipped to address all of your concerns and help find a suitable plan that’s both comprehensive and affordable.

18 Dec 2017

How Trump Has Impacted Obamacare Enrollment Rates

How Trump Has Impacted Obamacare Enrollment Rates

The latest figures reveal a strong 2017 enrollment rate, as nearly 3.6 million plans have been purchased through the exchange, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Despite these strong figures, the future of the Affordable Care Act remains uncertain.

The President remains firmly opposed to the bill, and many political experts predict it won’t survive another year. So today, we’re going to break down President Trump’s impact on Obamacare.

Reduced Enrollment Period

Back in August, the White House released information regarding the upcoming Open Enrollment Period and revealed it would only last 45 days. This is in comparison to prior years when the period lasted for approximately three months. Many political analysts saw this decision as a decisive tactic to reduce the number of enrollees and fundamentally undermine the Affordable Care Act.

Budget Slash

Coupled with a reduced enrollment period, Donald Trump also slashed the Obamacare marketing budget to just $10 million. This is down by nearly $100 million compared to 2016, as the Obama administration allocated a great deal of money to promote the program to all Americans.

How does this affect the average American? Well, this means they won’t be seeing any billboards or media advertisements. Therefore a percentage of Americans will miss the enrollment period and remain uninsured.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer immediately commented on the decision saying “the Trump administration is deliberately attempting to sabotage our health care system.” He also added, “when the number of people with health insurance declines and costs skyrocket, the American people will know who’s to blame.”

Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments

Trump has also halted cost-sharing reduction payments (otherwise known as CSRs). These were monthly government payments made under the Obama administration and were paid out to insurance companies across the country.

The payments would partially subsidize premiums for millions of Americans and essentially made Obamacare affordable for a significant portion of the population. The decision was announced in October and sent shockwaves throughout the entire political community.

Increase In Prices

Since insurance companies are no longer receiving government subsidies, so they’re forced to increase their plan prices as a reactionary response. This means consumers will pay more money when shopping around for a plan, and the prices on the open exchanges reflect this change. In some districts, reports are indicating the average price of an Obamacare plan has increased by nearly 37 percent, which means more Americans will have to rely on Medicaid or remain uninsured.

We understand this subject is complicated, but if you’re still confused, feel free to call one of our agents here at HealthQuoteInfo to get a better picture. Call one of our agents today at 855-614-5057 for more information.

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.