5 things you should know about Trump’s executive orders on Obamacare
What Do President Trump’s Executive Actions Mean for Obamacare in 2018?
It’s no secret that Congressional Republicans want to make significant changes to the Affordable Care Act (the law more commonly known as “Obamacare”).
They haven’t been able to pass any major reforms yet, but the Trump administration has tweaked some rules and published an executive order that may affect your choices for 2018.
Here are five things you should know about changes made to Obamacare and the health insurance market by the Trump administration so far:
- You don’t have to shop at Healthcare.gov. In May, CNBC reported that the Trump administration removed Obamacare’s sign-up “speed bump,” making it easier to enroll online at sites like eHealth.com.
Last year, it was difficult and time-consuming for licensed health insurance brokers to sign up eligible people in Obamacare subsidies. Most people got their subsidies through government-run websites like Healthcare.gov, which have a history of technical issues.
With the Trump administration’s rule change, licensed brokers like eHealth are now able to help qualifying individuals and families sign up for government subsidies quickly and easily.
This means that subsidy-eligible folks now have more options when it comes to shopping for coverage and enrolling in 2018 health insurance plans.
- Association health plans may be expanded in 2018. Forbes.com reported that a recent executive order could expand association health plans in 2018.
Most people get their health insurance through their employer or else they purchase it on their own. What this rule change does is provide many with a third path towards coverage.
It would allow people in qualifying circumstances to join an “association” (even if that association is based in another state) and enroll in a health insurance plan offered by that association. A small membership fee may apply.
Association plans may provide people with more medical insurance choices than they had in the past.
- Short-term medical plans may now last up to 1 year. Jean Chatzky reports that the same executive order may allow short-term health insurance policies to cover people for up to one year at a time.
Short-term health insurance is popular with people who are waiting for other lines of coverage to begin, or for those who can’t afford Obamacare or missed the Obamacare open enrollment period and want back-up coverage just in case.
Coverage under these plans was limited to 90-days at a time under the Obama administration, but the Trump administration’s change could allow short-term plans to be sold for up to one year at a time again in 2018.
- You may qualify for free insurance in 2018 – no, really! The Wall Street Journal reports that many health insurance shoppers may be able to get coverage without a monthly premium in 2018.
Ironically, this is happening because health insurance is getting so expensive. Here’s how it works:
If you earn up to 400% of the federal poverty level (about $48,000 for a single person) you may be eligible for subsidies to lower your monthly premiums. The dollar value of these subsidies is based on the cost of the “benchmark” silver-level plan in your area.
In 2018, the cost of benchmark silver plans is getting so high that some folks will be able to use their subsidies to buy a bronze-level plan instead with no monthly premium! Of course, deductibles and copayments will still apply.
- You don’t have to wait for the government to find creative solutions. CNBC reported how eHealth has “gotten a jump” on creating affordable alternatives to Obamacare for 2018.
After years of hearing from health insurance shoppers who needed a more affordable alternative to Obamacare-compliant major medical insurance, eHealth has introduced new, affordable options for the 2018 open enrollment period.
These multi-policy “medical insurance packages” combine products (like short-term coverage, gap insurance, and prescription drug discount cards) into a single package that will protect against a broad range of medical costs.
These products don’t meet the coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act, so they’re not for everyone, but they may save you up to 50% compared to Obamacare coverage.
Open enrollment for 2018 health insurance plans
The nationwide open enrollment period for 2018 health insurance started November 1, 2017 and is scheduled to end December 15, 2017. That’s only half as long as last year’s open enrollment period!
This may be your only time to sign up for an individual or family health insurance plan for 2018. Even if you already have coverage, you should still review your 2018 options and see if a new plan better fits your needs and budget.
Learn more about your 2018 coverage options today at eHealth.