Upcoming reforms to the Affordable Care Act

Hannah Gabel, Staff Writer

 

There are many upcoming changes to the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, all of which are taking place in the next two years. With the signing of a new executive order on Oct. 12 by President Donald Trump, there are five main alterations that will change the current healthcare system.

Kimberly Amadeo, writer for The Balance, highlighted the five main changes to health care. Health insurance companies will expand access to insurance plans, allowing companies to run across state lines, as well as make policies available to small businesses and trade groups. This could lower the cost of insurance, as companies will be competing for the business of a wider population. However, this could also could risk raising insurance costs, since it will be harder to moderate prices.

The next change is elongating short-term healthcare plans. Under Obamacare, short-term plans only last about three months. Under the new plan, President Trump is planning to extend them to at least 12 months.

The third change would allow employers to use their money before taxes to help pay medical expenses for their workers, with fewer restrictions than what Obamacare placed on employers previously.

Amadeo says that the last two changes allow studies to be done to limit consolidations in insurance agencies and hospitals and increase the competition between the various healthcare plans of insurance agencies.

It appears that Trump’s upcoming changes will help lower the costs of insurance for individuals that are healthy. These healthy individuals will be able to find more affordable plans that will cover their basic needs and most of the other things that insurance currently covers. Fortunately, if the individual does become sick, they can upgrade their plan for further, more extensive coverage. However, for individuals with chronic illnesses, insurance becomes more expensive. As we have seen over the last few years, health insurance prices have risen by at least 5 percent. This rise is expected to continue throughout next year.

Amadeo noticed that with the help of Seema Verma, one of the newer leaders for Medicare and Medicaid, the prices for Medicaid could decrease, only costing users a small monthly fee which could also help to lower the cost of insurance across the board.

These upcoming changes are predicted to take effect in late 2018 or early 2019. Interestingly, these five changes will not affect all insurance programs. Mainly, they will affect the five main companies that are tied to Obamacare. Other agencies will definitely be affected in the competitive aspects, but this does not mean that every health insurance plan will change what they offer or how much it will cost. There have been many efforts made to help health insurance become affordable to everyone in a more sufficient manner. Trump’s efforts are an attempt to ease some of the constraints that Obamacare had on existing agencies. These new regulations and rules are being put into place to help the agencies act within the law to provide prompt, affordable health insurance to all individuals.

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