It’s a new year, which (hopefully) means you’ve renewed or enrolled in health insurance for 2017.
There’s been lots of talk about what will happen to the Affordable Care Act now that there’s a new president in town. While President Trump has been clear about his distaste for the ACA, he recently revealed he may be willing to keep certain provisions of it intact.
So, what does the future hold? The answer is — we’re going to have to wait and see.
Here’s what we do know:
- The marketplace is likely to remain intact for the entirety of 2017. Though Trump previously promised to repeal the ACA on his first day in office, making changes to legislation as complex as the ACA takes time.
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is the only insurer who decided to serve all 100 counties in 2017.
- Group coverage (i.e. buying insurance for your small business) is different than buying insurance for yourself or your family. Translation - different rules mean different regulations, so if you’re a small business owner keep this in mind.
Speaking of group health insurance — the ACA oftentimes gets a bad rap when it comes to this type of coverage. Whether you’re pro-ACA or against it, it’s worthwhile to look at it from all sides — and the group coverage component of the ACA is a good starting point. So, in typical NCCFH fashion, here’s a pro/con list:
Benefits of ACA Group Coverage
- Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees are not penalized for opting out of purchasing group health plans. This alleviates financial stress for some small business owners who may not have the funds to float company-wide insurance.
- Businesses that provide group health insurance are eligible for tax benefits.
- Monthly premiums for employees who are insured under group health plans are usually significantly lower than individual marketplace plans since the employer pays for a portion of its employee’s health coverage, if not all of it.
Drawbacks of ACA Group Coverage
- We talked about it here, but if you’re a small business owner with workers you’re required to insure— you’re probably paying a pretty penny in group health insurance costs. These costs are only expected to rise in 2017.
- Employees who work for companies with fewer than 50 employees oftentimes have to go into the marketplace to buy their own insurance when their employer opts out of group coverage. This can get expensive. For example, Forbes reports that a 27-year-old female living in Wake County who makes $35,000 a year will spend $142 a month (subsidy included) for basic coverage via healthcare.gov.
No system is perfect and whatever happens to the ACA from here on out, one thing is for sure — we should all resolve to do a little more for our individual health and the health of those around us, including getting a handle on our country’s healthcare costs.
Whether you’re covered through your employer or navigate the insurance market on your own, one thing is certain — mandates raise the costs of healthcare for everyone. If you believe in fighting back against this legislation for you and the guy in the next cubicle over, join us.