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HHS Agency Agrees ACA Law Needs Changing To Ensure Affordability

Health Inusarance

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Health policy analysts said many people are about to be hit with a rate hike for health insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act. Consumers’ out-of-pocket costs are anticipated to rise in 2017 with some insurers claiming they’re going to remove themselves from the exchange program in several states.

Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said the four enrollment of the Affordable Care Act is set to start Nov. 1 and end Jan. 31 and it’s a pivotal moment for the federal health care law.

Burwell said it’s not easy to establish a new market. She said they expected a transition period to occur in the marketplace. She said issuers are altering prices and getting them in line using the actual cost information.

Her comments suggest higher premiums had been expected when federal officials made an announcement on health plans that were going to be offered for 2017 on HealthCare.gov. This information is set to come out days before the U.S. presidential election day (Nov. 8), which could determine if the ACA will be repealed or changed.

The health law hasn’t been the key talk during the election season, but was a bitter battle in 2010. The House of Representatives has voted over 60 times to repeal some or all of the ACA, which has survived several court challenges and still faces other challenges.

Burwell said the law has not helped because of the constant litigation and every partisan attempt to repeal and undermine the law.

Federal and state marketplace enrollment is thought to rise by nearly one million people – 12.7 million to 13.8 million. The amount of people who pay for their premiums and stay within the market is anticipated to average 10.5 million per month in 2016 and 11.4 million each month during 2017.

HHS said the people sign up and drop their ACA because of reasons – change in employment, another source coverage and affordability. However, the agency said 9.2 million with ACA coverage now are likely to reenroll.

Burwell said health officials have worked to boost insurance coverage for the uninsured to ensure the enrollment process is quicker and simple. They also want to focus on getting healthy consumers and people between 18 and 34 years of age with fewer ailments to sign up. They’re also reminding consumers that failure to have coverage will result in a $695 fine or 2.5 percent of their income (whatever is higher).

Federal officials are also targeting their enrollments effects on 5.1 million Americans who qualify for exchanges under the ACA but purchase it somewhere else. The HHS said 2.5 million people might be eligible for the ACA’s financial assistance when they sign up during open enrollment.

The November elections could determine the ACA’s future. Republication presidential hopeful Donald Trump said he would repeal the ACA and replace it. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said she wants to revamp it so that it’s affordable for consumers who don’t qualify for the subsidies but still can’t afford the coverage.

Burwell said she asked Congress to work with the Obama administration to address the changes that need to be made. She said substantial changes need to be made and Congress cooperation is necessary to ensure it happens.

Bipartisan cooperation, however, isn’t likely to occur until a new Congress meets. So much of the law’s future is dependent upon the congressional and presidential elections – who is in power and whether the leaders feel the ACA needs to be changed and makes changes that both parties can accept.

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Posted by on Oct 20 2016. Filed under Featured, Health, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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