If you had a lot of questions about enrolling in health insurance this Open Enrollment period, you probably have even more in the wake of the Presidential election. While none of the Republican-proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are confirmed, or even fully fleshed out, here’s what we know, what we don’t know and what we think.
Is my Obamacare coverage going away?
There’s been a lot of talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) come January 2017. As of late, there has also been some talk of keeping key elements of the law. So, no one really knows what will happen to the specifics of Obamacare.
What we do know is that change takes time. If we look back, the ACA was signed into law in 2010 but didn’t affect consumers until 2014. So while changes to health insurance regulations may start to take shape within the next six months, we don’t think there will be any immediate impact on consumers.
Should I still enroll in health insurance this open enrollment period?
If you need health insurance, yes. The Open Enrollment window runs through January 31, 2017. As of today, if you remain uncovered, you may face a penalty when you file your taxes of up to two percent of your income. Plus, when you consider that medical bills are still the number one form of bankruptcy in the United States, it pays to be covered.
Can I still access tax credits to help pay for health insurance?
Yes. If you are eligible based on your income and household size, you can apply for tax credits when you enroll in a health insurance plan during the Open Enrollment period.
If I enroll in health insurance for 2017, will my coverage be terminated if Obamacare changes?
Unfortunately, there is no way for us to know with complete certainty what will happen to Obamacare health insurance plans next year—or all health insurance plans for that matter. Thanks to Obamacare, 20 million people enrolled in health insurance, many for the first time. We think that’s too big of a number to ignore and to leave without coverage. We are staying on top of all of the latest news regarding health coverage and will continue to once the new administration takes over. We will keep consumers updated as changes begin to take place and let you know how they may affect you in 2017 and beyond.
What changes am I likely to see to my coverage after 2017?
Nothing is set in stone at this point. What we are hearing is that people with preexisting conditions will continue to be protected and offered coverage. Children will be able to remain on their parents’ health insurance plan through 26 years of age. We may see the individual mandate go away (the requirement by law that you have health insurance or face a tax penalty). Larger, more sweeping changes are more likely to take place after 2017.