The election results have caused many people to question what will happen to their health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid. So allow us to provide some clarity.
Will I be without coverage at the start of the Trump presidency?
No, you won’t automatically lose coverage when Donald Trump takes office in January 2017. Given the complexity of the process required to repeal all or some of the ACA, and the need for an agreed-upon plan to replace it, most changes to your coverage will take some time. And it’s important to remember that if there is a repeal, people covered under the ACA will have time to transition to a new plan so they don’t have a disruption in coverage.
Since President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans have vowed to repeal the ACA, should I even bother enrolling in health care?
Enroll in health care plans under the ACA, preferably by December 31, but no later than January 15, to ensure you have coverage for 2017. We don’t know how long it will take for Donald Trump or Republicans to change the law, so you want to make sure you are covered. Even if you are healthy, you never know when a medical emergency could happen.
Another reason to sign up: Those free preventive services like breast cancer screenings, birth control and even vaccines for kids – there’s a chance they won’t remain free of charge once the Trump Administration and Congress starts to make changes to the ACA. In fact, there’s a possibility your insurance plan may not even have to cover some services any more. So let me say it again: Enroll in health care today AND make doctor’s appointments before the end of the year to take advantage of the current free services and other health benefits while the ACA is still intact.
How will health care coverage change under the new Trump Administration?
Based on the Congressional Republicans’ last attempt to partially repeal the ACA in 2015, the likely changes to the ACA will be:
- You won’t be required to have insurance and won’t be penalized for not having insurance
- Large companies won’t be required to provide affordable insurance, and they won’t be penalized for not providing insurance to their employees
- Adults near or below the poverty line won’t have the option to be covered under Medicaid (i.e. Medicaid expansion will no longer exist)
- Middle-income individuals who can’t afford their premiums won’t get subsidies to help them purchase insurance
- Insurance companies may be able to charge different rates to older customers
However, certain provisions of the ACA will likely remain in effect under the Trump Administration. For example,
- You wouldn’t be discriminated against for pre-existing conditions
- Parents can cover their kids on their plans until their children are 26
- Your insurance company wouldn’t be able to impose yearly or lifetime dollar limits
What will replace the ACA health plans?
We don’t know. President-elect Trump and Republicans in Congress haven’t given much information about the ACA’s potential replacement. However, Mr. Trump has proposed some ideas, which include tax-deductible insurance premiums and tax-free health saving accounts (HSAs) as well as changing the structure of the Medicaid program to give states more control over the program. Tax deductible premiums and HSAs sound like a great benefit, but they really only benefit the wealthy who can afford to pay high premiums and save some of their income in HSAs. In addition, changing the structure of Medicaid will likely result in less funding for the program to cover everyone in need, leaving millions of low-income Americans without adequate insurance or any insurance at all.
Even though there is no clear plan for replacing the ACA, the fact remains: millions—at least 22 million—may lose health insurance coverage because it will be too expensive for them.
What happens to my coverage if I got it because my state expanded Medicaid?
If you enrolled in Medicaid as a result of Medicaid expansion, you may face the loss of your insurance. There’s no indication if President-elect Trump or Congressional Republicans will offer an affordable replacement health care plan for people eligible for Medicaid through its expansion under the ACA. Unfortunately, millions of people will lose health care coverage as a result of the repeal of Medicaid expansion.
How will my coverage change if I am in the traditional Medicaid program?
President-elect Trump and Republicans in Congress want to change the structure of the Medicaid program giving states more control over the program, which will result in a reduction of federal funding to support each state program. If you are currently on Medicaid, you may experience a reduction in health benefits or you could no longer qualify for coverage under Medicaid program due to tighter eligibility requirements. As a result, there’s the possibility that millions of people who are low-income will be without coverage.