The ACA Chicken Little sky is not falling!

If I have had a dime for everyone who has called, emailed, texted, etc. with the following questions – “What is going to happen to Obamacare?”, or “Now that the election is over, my health insurance will be dropped, right?”, then I would not have to sell health insurance any longer. The answer to the first is truthfully nobody knows, while the answer to the second is of course not. The latest information is that the likely implementation of any new health insurance replacement to Obamacare will not take place until 2020. The current administration can’t unravel this legislation unilaterally, and must have Congress involved in the crafting of a new replacement bill. What this looks like, and how it will operate are currently unknown. Of course, the biggest fear amongst my clients is the fact that ACA compelled all individual market health insurance carriers to accept every applicant regardless of any current, past or future health condition, and that any repeal could allow carriers to once again deny, rate up, or exclude certain conditions upon underwriting review. While this is the only way for individual premiums to return to some sense of stability, I do not see them reverting back to this without a safety net for those who are currently sick or undergoing treatment. One proposal would be for the Federal Government to offer block grants to each State and create a high risk pool for those who would not pass medical underwriting, so they would have coverage. Again, not sure where all this is headed, but I would say that it is highly probable the current ACA structure will remain in place for the immediate future until a replacement is on the books.

Ironically, one way Obamacare could be repealed without a replacement would be if Congress simply did nothing, and allowed the market to dictate what happens. I can tell you for certain that if this happens, then ACA will collapse on its own, because you will see large pockets of the Country in which individual market health insurance carriers will leave this space altogether creating a situation whereby you will be fined for not owning a product you are compelled to purchase that you can’t buy. This almost happened here in CT for 2017 as both ConnectiCare and Anthem came within a week of simply leaving the marketplace altogether. In 2016, Tennessee had multiple carriers offering health coverage, but coming into 2017, only one remained and they told the State Dept. of Insurance that they would not be the only one left accepting all of this adverse selection without them agreeing to a 67% rate increase across all product lines. They did. Only a handful of the Exchanges that were set up by the ACA remain, and their financial solvency could be in jeopardy as well. So unless substantive reform of ACA is accomplished, then dire consequences will occur. It will be in both parties best interest to create BIPARTISAN Legislation to accomplish this goal.