With much uncertainty about the future after this election’s results, we should reflect on the current health insurance rules and the future of the industry. First of all, the Affordable Care Act is still in effect and will not face any legal challenges for the coming enrollment year. California’s state exchange is self-sustainable and does not rely on federal funding but is supported by Governor Brown. Covered California is still open for business and is happy to enroll you or your small business. Your health insurance coverage will remain intact for 2017 and for the foreseeable future. Under the Affordable Care Act, your financial assistance such as subsidies, individual and small business tax credits are all protected. Furthermore, the rates for 2017 are locked in and will not change.
Please do not take a financial risk in 2017 by not enrolling in a health insurance plan, let alone for the consequential tax penalty. Furthermore, if you qualify for subsidies, take advantage of the state exchange and benefit from tax-credits and premium subsidies.
On the other hand, President-elect Donald Trump has publicly stated his dislike for the Affordable Care Act. Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation recently stated that, with Trump’s recent election, “the ACA as we know it would seem to be toast”. With a Republican-led Congress in both the House and Senate in January, Congress may be able to repeal part if not all of the Affordable Care Act. Trump has, however, introduced the idea of more Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for insurance plans, allowing health insurance premiums to be tax-deductible. He also would like to create more competition by allowing insurers to sell health insurance policies across state lines, potentially supporting part of the middle class that earns more than 400% of the Federal Poverty Line.
As for now, we shall proceed to function through the state exchanges and the Affordable Care Act as normal. Only time will tell what the fate of the Affordable Care will be. I will make sure to update you and communicate any new policy changes relevant to California. In the meantime, please do not forget that we are currently in the open enrollment period which goes through January 31st, 2017 and you can make changes to your current health insurance plan during this period.
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Join me next Tuesday, November 15th at the GABA event at the Culver City Hotel at 6 pm where we will have a panel discussion of the Trends in the health Care Industry.