Health law sign-ups start

Published on Monday, 30 October 2017 21:58
Written by the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - It’s sign-up season for the Affordable Care Act, but the Trump administration isn’t making it easy - cutting the enrollment period in half, slashing advertising and dialing back on counselors who help consumers get through the process.

Many people already faced fewer choices and higher premiums. But President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel a subsidy to insurers that lowers consumer costs compounded the turmoil, pushing premiums even higher.

Add it all up and the number of uninsured people may start rising again, eroding gains that drove the uninsured rate to a historic low.

“It certainly is a hostile takeover,” said health policy expert Joe Antos of the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.

“We are going to see a decline in enrollment,” he added. “The people who will drop out in droves are the ones who are not getting a premium subsidy.”

Open enrollment starts Wednesday and ends Dec. 15 in most states, a sign-up period six weeks shorter than last year’s.

Some 9 million to 10 million people currently have private plans through the ACA’s government-sponsored markets. More than 8 in 10 receive subsidized premiums, and are cushioned from rate increases. Federal help paying premiums is still available despite GOP efforts to repeal the health law.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Nation-World on Monday, 30 October 2017 21:58. Updated: Monday, 30 October 2017 22:00.