Yes, you should sign up for health insurance despite the uncertainty about the ACA
There are still many unanswered questions about what the new presidential administration will mean for healthcare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. On the campaign trail, the President-elect insisted that he would call for a full repeal of the ACA, although in the days since the election, he has stated he may keep some elements of the law – like the ability for children to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26 and measures that allow for coverage despite preexisting conditions.
With all of the confusion surrounding what will happen next, here are a few concrete facts to help guide you:
The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land, and significant repeal efforts will not take place overnight
Though the long- and even short-term future of the ACA is uncertain, what is certain is that it will remain in effect through the remainder of President Obama’s term. While the President-elect has made statements suggesting he would seek repeal or amendment on his first day in office, these changes would likely not take place overnight. Even a bill proposed by lawmakers earlier this year to repeal the Act suggested a two-year transition period for consumers to find new coverage.
Coverage remains available and is still required for consumers
Coverage for the 2017 year is still available under the ACA and is still required for consumers. This means if you are not covered by an employer-sponsored health care plan, Medicaid, Medicare, or another accepted health care plan, you will be subject fines as a penalty for lack of coverage.
Current Mazzoni Center patients who are interested in applying for health insurance should contact our Benefits Counselor, Seth Lamming, at (215) 563-0658 x 355 or [email protected]. Seth can help assess your eligibility for income-based public insurance programs or help you navigate marketplace applications and supportive resources.
The open enrollment period is still underway
The ACA is now in its fourth open enrollment period, which began on November 1 and will continue, past Inauguration Day, through January 31, 2017. The deadline to apply to ensure coverage by January 1 is December 15. That means if you are currently covered under the ACA, you will need to apply by December 15 to have seamless coverage for the next year. Over 1 million people have already selected coverage, with a surge in enrollment post-election. If you need enrollment assistance, visit HealthCare.gov to find local groups and individuals who can help.
We don't yet know long-term implications
As we’ve said, it’s very difficult to know the long-term effects a Trump administration may have on the ACA, be it repeal or amendment. Some important areas to consider are Medicaid, prescription drug prices and availability (including birth control), costs of insurance, and premium-lowering subsidies.
Here at Mazzoni Center, we are committed to providing quality care and to ensuring that no one will be turned away for lack of insurance. While we wait for answers to some of the major questions and concerns about the future of health care in our country, we will continue to serve our community as we have for nearly 40 years and remain dedicated to the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ people.
Much of this information was provided by a November 17 webinar hosted by Families USA, which can be found here. More information can be found in this Q&A by the Washington Post.