These are confusing times for anyone looking for good health insurance they can afford, as political maneuvering in Washington has resulted in a lot of big changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.” Whether you’re a current ACA enrollee, or merely evaluating your options for next year, it’s a good idea to keep up with the changes coming to this government health care initiative.
Understanding Changes and Challenges to The ACA In 2018
1- No more individual mandate. At least for now.
Among the more controversial moves is that the tax bill passed at the end of last year repealed the “individual mandate” that made it mandatory for both individuals and families to carry health insurance. Beginning in 2019 there will be no tax penalties or fines for lacking health insurance if nothing changes.
However, there’s no guarantee that will stay true. The belief is that without the individual mandate, insurance companies may not be able to afford coverage – particularly now that they must cover pre-existing conditions. The mandate could easily come back.
2- Expanded Association Health Plans (AHPs)
Association Health Plans are a form of group health insurance that, in theory, are intended as a short-term stopgap solution for those facing a hole in their health insurance coverage. Recent laws have significantly expanded the amount of time AHPs can be utilized by enrollees.
The issue here is that while AHPs generally have very low premiums, they also offer a minimum of benefits. They were never intended as a comprehensive solution, but there is some concern that lower-income individuals may try to use them as a long-term insurance plan. This could backfire easily if an accident occurs which is outside the AHP’s scope of coverage.
3- No more cost-sharing reductions (CSRs)
Cost-sharing reductions were public funds allocated to health insurance providers, to help offset the additional costs of the ACA – particularly pre-existing condition coverage. These have now been eliminated. The result will almost inevitably be higher rates on ACA participants, and possibly higher rates in general, as insurance companies struggle to offset the costs associated with the ACA.
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Good & Associates can help you find affordable health care for yourself and your family, whether through the ACA or through fully private sources. Experience our great services for yourself by getting a free quote today!