Changes to ObamaCare made by President

In the last 24 hours, President Trump has signed executive orders changing a number of things about “ObamaCare” – some which will popular, and others which won’t… depending on who you are.  This is not a political conversation, at least not on my blog.

The first change is to allow Associations and business organizations to offer insurance through their organizations again.  When I first started in this industry this was common, but that turned with NY’s change to “Community Rated Plans” in 1993 under Governor Cuomo.  This will most likely be coupled with “the ability to sell across state lines.”  It is an intriguing idea fraught with many technical issues.

In theory it would allow plans that don’t meet the “minimum essential benefit” rules – which if you are a 25 year old male not needing maternity coverage is a good thing for your rates.  Of course if you need a benefit down the line that you did not buy you would have to change plans.

 

It also allows Short Term Medical Plans to expand – the Federal Government under President Obama eliminated these plans for any time frame more than 90 days.

NOTHING in the executive orders has any affect on pre-existing conditions, although there has been much speculation in social media about that.

More troubling is the removal of subsidies for “low-income people.”  It is unclear based on what I have been able to read this morning exactly what that means, typical for politics.  Does this mean the Medicaid expansion is unfunded?  It appears to target only the “cost-sharing payments” that lower deductibles and costs for those under 250% of the Federal Poverty level, but does it also affect all subsidies?  Not clear.

SUMMARY-  Executive orders have no force of law.  The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is the law of the land.  The association, and across state lines pieces, will probably take a year or more to have any affect.  It is likely that there will be a series of court appearances designed to stop the Trump administration from eliminating subsidies.  The problem is – Open Enrollment begins in 18 days!  How will people be able to make intelligent decisions about health care choices during this years open enrollment period is a huge concern for our office.

As always, we will be here to help you through this mess.  We expect a number of twists and turns.