With a new president in office, this is the first official year that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now under new governmental leadership. The subject of many debates and political promises was the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. Legislation to do such a thing is still in the infant stages. The debate is quite alive given the constant back and forth finger pointing between the parties, fighting to do what each thinks is best for the country.
Some changes have come to fruition, however. These modifications took effect this past enrollment period. Confusion surrounding these, and other changes have left some consumers uninsured while leaving many others concerned about what is to come. For this year, the changes that have taken place can set a pattern for the future of health insurance.
In years past the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) had run from November 1st through January 31st of the following year. For 2018, the OEP is shortened by half. It still begins on November 1st but will end on December 15th. Unless the state you live has its own exchange and offers an extended enrollment period, you can face the tax penalty if you do not enroll by the December 15 deadline.
In addition to a shortened enrollment period, the budget that was used to advertise about the upcoming enrollment was cut drastically. This contributed to fewer people being aware of the upcoming deadline and may have missed it altogether. The only way, other than living in a state with an extended deadline, will be having a Qualifying event for a Special Enrollment Period. This can include:
- Marriage or Divorce
- Birth of a child or adoption
- Moving to an area outside of your current coverage area
- Loss of coverage due to job-related circumstances
Any of these events can trigger an opportunity to shop through the marketplace for an individual insurance policy. Keep in mind that that window of opportunity is a brief one. Once you know when your triggering event is going to take place, begin your shopping before time runs out.
The individual mandate that stated everyone must have health insurance or face a tax penalty remained in place, but efforts are still being made to abolish this as well. There were a couple of changes that affected how insurance companies offered insurance to the consumer.
Cost-Sharing Payment Reimbursements –In the past insurance companies offered lower deductibles to lower-income families at a reduced rate because they were compensated by the federal government. An executive order took away those reimbursements. So, insurance companies began to raise premiums to compensate for the loss of funding.
Law Requirements -In addition to the removal of the reimbursement payments, the law remained in place that mandated the insurance companies keep the lower deductible in place for the lower class. Again, insurance companies are raising rates to compensate for their losses.
The government does offer subsidies to the consumer, but one must qualify for them. It is based on your income. If you fall in below a certain threshold, you can receive a subsidy that will help you with capping the cost of premiums, copayments, and out of pocket expenses. This lower cost of insurance is applied to the insurance policy you choose to enroll in.
With all the changes, the overall cost of insurance for 2018 is set to increase dramatically. How dramatic will depend on the insurance company. With fewer people enrolled, the cost of insurance will be spread over fewer people. Those enrolled will have to pay a higher premium to cover the loss insurance companies face with lower enrollment.
Although some companies have chosen to raise their rates because of the loss of the reimbursement payment, not all companies chose this route. Some elected not to raise rates and to accept the loss caused by the reimbursement loss, so it is important to shop around when looking for individual insurance or through the marketplace.
To learn more about your health insurance options, or other 2018 health care predictions, contact the experts at HealthQuoteInfo.com at 855-614-5057. Our licensed health insurance experts will be happy to answer any questions you have.