The legislature for the Trump administration’s plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, have been unveiled and has been approved in deliberations by two house committees. As of Monday, March 13, the administration is waiting on considerations from the Congressional Budget Committee. While the ACA replacement, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), may not yet be approved or implemented, here’s what you need to know about the changes that could be underway:
- Individuals will be able to choose whether or not they want to be insured without government penalty. One of the primary issues Republicans wanted to change about the ACA was its requirement that people be insured or otherwise face a government penalty. The ACA had previously made lower-cost private health care plans more available and offered tax credits and other financial benefits as a result. The AHCA will still offer tax credits for people who choose to be insured, but these tax credits will be based on age and will be lower than before. The overall incentive to be insured has decreased, and many people may determine that it is a cost they can no longer afford.
- Between 8 and 20 million people may become uninsured. Most estimates suggest that between 8 and 20 million people will become newly uninsured by 2026 because of this Act. Some estimates are much higher, but almost none suggest fewer people would be uninsured as a result. This would be the result of individuals not only having the choice as to whether or not to be insured, but also because health care may become unaffordable. People in their 50s and 60s with prior conditions will be the largest demographic to become uninsured. Additionally, people who become newly insured by Medicaid under the ACA may become uninsured again.
- Health insurance costs will increase. Health insurances premiums are anticipated to rise about 30% in cost as a result of the AHCA. Not only this, but health insurance companies will be able to sell extremely minimal plans. One of the mandates of the ACA that required health insurance companies to provide an explanation of the percentage of cost of health care that it covers would be removed by the AHCA. As a result, people may purchase plans that cover very few of their actual healthcare costs and will have to pay more out of pocket.
- AHCA repeals the Prevention and Public Health Fund. This fund provides 12 percent of funding to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which helps prevent things like bioterrorism, epidemics and major causes of death in the US like cancer and diabetes.
- People under 26 can remain on their parents healthcare plan. College students and other people under 26 who have been insured by their parents health insurance plans will likely be able to keep their coverage and remain on these plans, so long as their parents are still able to keep their plans under the new mandates.
Information from this article was gathered at NYTimes.com and Salon.com