Donald Trump’s recent statements and tweets have created confusion and chaos in the health insurance market, just as open enrollment for ACA/Obamacare is about to begin, on November 1. He’s making it sound like he has killed Obamacare for good. He’s saying things like “Obamacare is dead. It’s over. You might as well not even mention it. There is no Obamacare.” But that is not true.
You can get health insurance for 2018 on the ACA/Obamacare exchanges. The program is still alive. The exchanges are still alive. You can still get health insurance with subsidized premiums. Trump would love for you to be confused and to just not even try. That would depress enrollment and help him sink the program that he hates—not because he understands its purpose, its workings, or how it affects individual people and the overall economy, but simply because it bears the name “Obama.”
So, do not be confused. Do not give up. Trump is doing everything he can to make you think that you can’t get health insurance for next year. And he’s not just talking: He has taken administrative action to make it harder for you to enroll. But you definitely can still enroll and get health coverage for 2018.
He has shortened the enrollment period from the customary three months to only six weeks. [Enrollment opens on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. It ends on December 15, 2017.] Pay attention to those dates. Don’t wake up on January 2 and say, “Gee, I should get healthcare insurance now. Oh, oops, I missed the deadline.” Trump would love for that to happen. Don’t let him fool you.
He has reduced—by 91 percent– the amount of money that will be spent on advertising the open enrollment period. So, you won’t be hearing as much about it, seeing as many ads, or getting much snail mail, email or social media contact about open enrollment. But you can still get health insurance for 2018 through the ACA.
He has reduced—by 41 percent overall—the amount of money that the government will pay to the non-government organizations who are most likely to reach out to people eligible for ACA/Obamacare enrollment — especially low-income people. Some of these groups have had their ACA/Obamacare outreach budgets slashed by as much as 90 percent. So you won’t be hearing as much from community organizations who used to remind you about open enrollment. But you can still get health insurance for 2018 through the ACA.
This vast reduction in funds has reduced the number of navigators who answer the ACA/Obamacare phones and help you work through the enrollment documents. You’re going to have to wait longer to connect with a navigator, and the person you talk with may not be as knowledgeable as those who had the job in previous years. But you can still get health insurance for 2018 through the ACA.
The big news last week was that Trump announced that he would immediately stop supporting the cost-sharing subsidies [CSR’s] that reimburse insurers for reducing deductibles and co-pays for lower income Obamacare enrollees. Until then, the administration had been paying these subsidies on a month-to-month basis.
But this huge act of Trumpian sabotage does not let insurer off the hook entirely. “Insurers must continue providing these cost-sharing discounts—even though they won’t be paid for them,” notes CNN. “That’s because the subsidies are required by the Affordable Care Act.”
So, if you qualify for premium subsidies—which are separate and unaffected by the CSR payments—you won’t have to pay much more, although you may need to switch plans to keep your rates steady. But you can still get health insurance for 2018 through ACA/Obamacare.
Trump’s moves will undoubtedly result in rate increases next year. So, your ACA/Obamacare insurance plan could cost more. But you can still get health insurance for 2018 through ACA/Obamacare, despite what Donald Trump would like you to think. ACA/Obamacare is not dead. If this is the year when you have decided to sign up,or if you need to look into a new plan, you should definitely explore your options at healthcare.gov.