WASHINGTON (AP) - Itâ€™s sign-up season for the Affordable Care Act, but the Trump administration isnâ€™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 Trumpâ€™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.
â€śIt certainly is a hostile takeover,â€ť said health policy expert Joe Antos of the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute.
â€śWe are going to see a decline in enrollment,â€ť he added. â€śThe people who will drop out in droves are the ones who are not getting a premium subsidy.â€ť
Open enrollment starts Wednesday and ends Dec. 15 in most states, a sign-up period six weeks shorter than last yearâ€™s.
Some 9 million to 10 million people currently have private plans through the ACAâ€™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.