The Trump administration took steps last week that could make it easier for consumers to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act, albeit at the potential demise of federal insurance exchanges.
“It's the Wild West out here, and companies are doing what they can to survive,” said Ronnell Nolan, CEO of Health Agents for America, which represents independent insurance brokers.
Health insurers are pleased the Trump administration wants to give them seven extra weeks to file rates for individual-market plans in 2018. But that move does little to settle their uncertainty about whether to offer plans at all.
The final open enrollment period for coverage on Healthcare.gov under the Obama administration ended Jan. 31 with 9.2 million people selecting plans on the site.
The rate of enrollment in the state and federal marketplaces continues to outpace the previous year despite ongoing uncertainty over the future of the health reform law. As of Dec. 24, 11.5 million people were signed up for coverage.
HHS has seen a major increase in the number of people who have selected plans on HealthCare.gov compared with this time last year. Nearly 6.4 million have selected plans that will begin Jan. 1.
The upcoming presidential election will have far-reaching consequences on the future of healthcare in the U.S., but no matter the results, the changes already forged by the Affordable Care Act are here to stay, a panel of policy and legal experts said this week.
Policy experts say the projected double-digit hikes are unlikely to affect the majority of people who enroll in health plans through the federal exchange. At the same time, benchmark premiums in some states, including Arkansas, Indiana and Ohio, will increase only slightly or even decrease in 2017.
The next open enrollment season for Affordable Care Act exchange plans opens Tuesday amid the charges and countercharges of a heated political campaign.
Health insurance premiums for the benchmark exchange plans are set to rise 25% on average in 2017—an eye-popping figure that has fueled another wave of criticism by Republicans seeking to dismantle the ACA. But policy experts say the projected hikes are unlikely to affect most enrollees.
Health insurers that sell plans on the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace may not face “enforcement remedies” in 2017 if they fail to follow all of the rules around consumer complaints, the CMS said in a recent memo.
Everyone agrees the Affordable Care Act exchanges need more people to sign up for coverage to make those marketplaces more stable. But many Americans haven't enrolled because they find the health insurance confusing.