The Future of Affordable Care Act Health Insurance
Every year brings changes and updates to the healthcare industry, particularly in the area of health insurance coverage. The change of political ideologies ushered in by this past general election has guaranteed that 2017’s updates will be massive. Exactly how will these changes affect you? That depends largely on your place within the market.
How Might Your Coverage be Affected?
If you’re one of the many that has signed up for Affordable Care Act health insurance, then you undoubtedly felt at least a slight bit of trepidation as the results came in on November 8th. To a certain extent, your fears may have been well-founded; ever since the election, calls have been made by both the incoming administration and the House to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a less-costly alternative. Sure enough, the Senate OK’d a budget resolution in the early morning on January 12th that, in essence, paved the way for Congress to begin the repeal by rolling back major parts of the healthcare law through a budget reconciliation process. The measure was approved by the House on the following day.
However, a repeal does not mean that you will automatically lose your Affordable Care Act health insurance. Most industry experts and commentators agree that whatever alternative is put in place will almost certainly contain a grandfather clause that will allow you to continue to remain with whatever plan you are currently enrolled in. Yet changes could be on the horizon in regards to your premiums. The Affordable Care Act reinsurance program (which diverted money to individual market plans to help absorb the financial losses insurers suffered from having to take on high-risk/high-cost enrollees) expired at the end of last year. This could signal a potential rise in premiums as the financial burden of continuing coverage for high-risk plan members now falls back to insurers.
What to Do to Combat Potentially Rising Rates
This phasing out of the Affordable Care Act reinsurance program (along with the now-anticipated repeal of the law altogether) will almost certainly impact you if you are a small business providing group health plan coverage. You can expect rates on group health plans to rise for two reasons: Insurers will now look for new ways to recoup the costs of supporting those who enrolled in previous years, and fewer options will be available to consumers as Affordable Care Act health insurance plans go away.
Yet even with the decreased availability of Affordable Care Act health insurance coverage, there may be a way to contain your insurance costs regardless of whether you’re a individual or employer offering health insurance as a benefit. User-directed high-deductible plans offer coverage with lower premiums. The trade-off is higher out-of-pocket costs if you or your employers need care, yet even these can be offset through health savings accounts. For more information on how to deal with the impending changes related to the Affordable Care Act, contact us at (707) 823-3689, or Like us on Facebook, find us on Google+, and subscribe to our blog.