As the new administration settles in Washington, D.C., consumer health advocates have been active about educating people on what could happen to the Affordable Care Act if it is repealed or replaced. At the same time, they’ve encouraged consumers not to go uninsured this year and to enroll in a health plan as well as voice their concerns with their local representatives.
And most recently, those advocates have decried the new regulations proposed on Feb. 15 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Advocates said those new regulations would increase premiums, deductibles, and cost-sharing for those enrolled in Covered California and other health insurance marketplaces across the country.
Millions of enrollees across the nation have locked in their coverage and premium for 2017; however, the impact on cost would start in 2018 when consumers renew their health coverage for that year.
Here in California, Covered California has 1.5 millions consumers who get affordability assistance in the state’s market place and they could see reductions in the financial help they receive to afford premiums, and/or they would see increased deductibles and cost sharing for the 2018 plan year.
“President Trump railed against rising health care costs and high deductibles during his campaign, and yet his first regulations are to attempt to increase those costs for consumers,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition.
Wright was among many California and nationwide health advocates who were recently in D.C. advocating and fighting to protect the health of millions of consumers who would be affected with the ACA repeal.
“No one voted for coverage that costs more and covers less – but that’s what these Trump regulations seek to do,” Wright said. “All Californians should be concerned with these administrative actions and Congress’ rush to repeal Covered California subsidies and other Affordable Care Act benefits, especially without any replacement in place.”
Wright said those health care regulations are “a giveaway to the insurance industry at the expense of consumers, literally, in the form of reduced affordability assistance and increased deductibles and cost-sharing.”
He added that some of those proposed changes – from the open enrollment period to network adequacy standards – are prevented by an existing state law in California.
“We will work with the California Legislature and Covered California to further limit the impact of these regulations in our state, but Californians can’t be completely shielded from the negative impacts,” he said.
Consumers can still obtain health coverage through special enrollment period. Covered California website has more information on special enrollment rules and you can visit at: www.CoveredCA.com/individuals-and-families/getting-covered/special-enrollment.
And as a reminder Medi-Cal enrollment is year-round and you don’t need a special enrollment period to enroll in Medi-Cal if you qualify for it.
Vida en el Valle will continue to go over some of the ABC’s of the Affordable Care Act to refresh your memory of some of the terms as well as to bring you information of the health care reform and what is taking place at the national lever.
If you have any questions regarding the health reform you can email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and will address those concerns in future editions.