Healthcare Reform Progress Report
So, what is happening in Washington and does it affect me? Great question! Healthcare reform is a political hot potato once again.
Synopsis: We have watched several insurance companies withdraw from offering health insurance coverage to individuals and families. Typically, these people are self-employed, work for a small business that doesn’t offer group health insurance benefits, or have retired before age 65. They do not have another option for health insurance. The insurance companies that have withdrawn were losing money on these policies. The result is that Nebraskans will have only one carrier in 2018 for individual coverage – Medica. And we can expect another year of significant increase in premiums if one insurance company is assuming the risk for the entire state!
Impact: This means no choice for those who are buying their own insurance and it will also mean spending a higher percentage of your budget to pay the premiums. But it doesn’t stop there. This is both an economic and a social issue. Any business that incurs a loss in one segment of the operation will try to compensate for it in another segment. This means that insurance companies may look at other product lines, such as group insurance, to offset those losses. Healthcare is a basic need for everyone. The combination of rising premiums and increasing deductibles diminishes access to care. The Affordable Care Act intended to improve both affordability and accessibility. Seven years later (the ACA was passed in 2010), we are far from that objective.
What’s happening in Washington? There are weekly, and sometimes, daily headlines about the efforts to pass new legislation that will repeal, replace, and/or amend the Affordable Care Act. The House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act of 2017 on May 4th. Then the focus moved to the Senate’s efforts to pass the AHCA or a similar bill. We’ve been watching as the Senators tried to modify the bill in ways that would generate enough support to get it passed.
There is agreement on the fact that we have a serious problem with the ACA; however, there are sharp divides on how to fix it; mostly based on political party lines.
Does it affect me? Yes. If you are among those who provide your own health insurance, you can expect very limited choices and higher premiums for 2018. This will likely mean that more Nebraskans will choose to be uninsured. This outcome is a direct contradiction of the expectation that the uninsured numbers will decrease under the ACA.
If you are a business owner or employee who participates in a group health insurance plan, you want stability in the health insurance market. You want issues such as rising premiums, deductibles, and prescription drug costs to be manageable. You do not want the struggles in the individual market to spill over into the group market.
The Kaiser Family Foundation (kff.org) provides current trends and opinions and analysis of proposed changes to the law.
Make an educated decision, visit ComProIns.com today.
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