MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA--(Marketwired - Nov 15, 2016) - Open enrollment is underway, but newly elected leadership in the White House and Congress has prompted many questions about the future of health care. Today AgileHealthInsurance.com released insights to help people navigate impending changes to the health insurance landscape.
President-elect Donald Trump will take office Jan. 20, 2017. He and Congressional Republicans have promised to "repeal and replace" Obamacare. However, any changes will take time, and it's important consumers do not delay getting coverage. Open enrollment for Obamacare plans runs from Nov. 1, 2016, to Jan. 31, 2017.
"Higher premiums and fewer health plan choices were already posing challenges for consumers during this year's open enrollment," said Sam Gibbs, executive director of AgileHealthInsurance.com. "The recent election promises to change future coverage options so there is some uncertainty in the marketplace. However, it's important people get health coverage now, regardless of the election results."
Here are some things consumers shopping for health insurance coverage should keep in mind in light of the recent election:
The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and will remain so until changed by an act of Congress, which takes time. President-elect Trump takes office just 11 days before open enrollment ends. It's unclear what action -- if any -- he could take immediately that would impact open enrollment. Most analysts feel that there won't be major changes to existing health plans for at least six months. But long term, Republicans and President-elect Trump have said they will replace Obamacare with a more open, private marketplace of health plan options that have fewer restrictions.
It's risky to delay enrolling in health coverage. Obamacare premiums for 2017 are increasing an average of 25 percent so it may be tempting to delay enrolling in coverage in the hopes of more affordable options becoming available in the near future. However, going uninsured is a risky move that could be financially devastating. If you wait until something catastrophic happens medically, it's already too late. Unplanned medical expenses could cost tens of thousands of dollars.
If you feel you can't afford Obamacare coverage, term health insurance is likely your best option. Premium subsidies are available for people making up to $47,520 (single) or $64,080 (couple). However, even with premium assistance, some people cannot afford coverage and may consider going uninsured. Rather than going without coverage, these consumers should look at affordable alternatives to Obamacare, including term health insurance, health care sharing ministries or fixed indemnity plans. For example, term health insurance plans are one-third to one-half the cost of Obamacare plans and have broader provider networks so enrollees can go to most doctors and still be covered. In addition, consumers can enroll in term health insurance at any time.
Depending on the coverage you select, you may have to pay the Obamacare Tax, unless you qualify for one of several exemptions. It is unclear how the Trump Administration would eliminate or change these taxes.
You won't be locked in if a better plan comes along. Don't fret about the coming changes to the Obamacare marketplace. Any future changes will not affect the plan you select now. However, if a better plan comes along after the changes, you'll have the option to switch when it becomes available. But for now, remember this year's Obamacare open enrollment period runs through Jan. 31, 2017, and if you want coverage to begin Jan. 1, you must enroll in coverage by Dec. 15.
AgileHealthInsurance.com was created to educate people about the benefits of term health insurance and provide a fast, online process for purchasing these plans. Term health insurance is a flexible and low-cost major medical insurance for individuals without expensive pre-existing health conditions. It is not Obamacare. Term health plans offer consumers the flexibility to choose health plans with the benefits that matter most to them and combine these benefits with broad provider networks. Additional information about AgileHealthInsurance can be found at www.AgileHealthInsurance.com.