Health care reform is a constant topic of conversation, especially with an election on the horizon. The current state of health care includes the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which seems to be constantly changing. This makes many wonder what changes are on the horizon.
- The ACA still exists
Despite lawsuits in 2017, 2018, and 2019, the ACA is still in existence. The latest lawsuits involve attempting to end the ACA because the mandate to buy into it no longer exists. This argument has been moving through the courts, but no judge has yet decided to kill the ACA. Stakeholders are waiting to see if the Supreme Court takes the case. But, until that happens, the ACA is still available for people who need it.
2. Changes in the penalties
In most of the states, the penalties for not having health insurance no longer exist. But, there are some states that do have the penalties. Know what your state is doing, especially if you live in one that still has the mandates. There are exemptions available, even if you live in a state that has the mandates for proving you have health insurance.
3. Changes in the premiums
In most states, the premiums for ACA insurance have remained flat. Some states have actually seen premiums decrease. If the premiums have increased, they have only increased by three percent. Interestingly, premiums can vary within state lines. Fortunately, the premiums are known as “benchmark premiums” are not moving much at all. The premiums for existing plans are also remaining flat. Subsidies are changing some premiums. Unfortunately, some subsidies are decreasing, which could cause premiums to increase in some areas in some states. It is important that enrollees shop around for the perfect plan for them, with a price they can afford.
4. Open-enrollment changes
Changes continue to happen with open enrollment. Some states have their own open-enrollment rules. In most areas, the open enrollment is six weeks in length and happens at the end of the year, as the premiums begin on the first of the year. Some states have extended their open enrollment periods into 2020. There are rules for people who had health insurance in 2019 but lost the policy for non-payment. If you plan to re-enroll, you might have to pay the late costs before you can get a new policy.
5. Available short-term plans
In 2018, the federal government changed the rules about short-term health plans. The plans have become easily accessible for people who need to get health insurance quickly, and for short time periods. But, the short-term plans do not provide as well as long-term plans. The costs are low, and the coverage is weak, at best. The federal rules are designed to be minimal rules for states, and some states have more robust offerings than others. Some states do not have any short-term plans. So, be sure that you can get what you need before you end what you already have.