Affordable Care Act Changes

Dear Neighbor,

Even though Congress has not been able to pass a bill to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump has acted to cut the subsidies paid to insurers. Those subsidies make insurance rates more affordable for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians.

There is hope that a bipartisan Senate plan just hatched in D.C. could cover those subsidies for two years.

But given the possibility of a 30-percent rate increase should Trump’s executive order hold, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department is urging Pennsylvanians to carefully scrutinize options while the debate continues.

The best defense against these higher costs right now is to shop for the best plan that works for you at a cost you can afford. I urge you to shop around, visit the health care exchange and speak to navigators and insurance brokers who are trained to help you find the health care insurance policy that works for you.

It's important for you to explore all of your options.

Under the Affordable Care Act, plans are available at four levels – platinum, gold, silver and bronze. These levels represent different levels of cost-sharing based on monthly premiums and total out-of-pocket costs. There also are off-exchange options, which may not be impacted disproportionally. You may want to explore these plans if you do not receive a subsidy.

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department is partnering with Consumers’ Checkbook again this year to create a shopping tool that allows consumers to compare both on-exchange and off-exchange plans available in Pennsylvania. Consumers can enter their income to see what subsidies may be available to them and estimate the monthly premium and total annual cost of plans in their area. If consumers find a plan they would like to buy, the plan comparison tool will take them to either Healthcare.gov or the company’s website to make a purchase. Consumers can visit https://pa.checkbookhealth.org to use the plan comparison tool.

Open enrollment for 2018 health insurance runs from Nov.1 until Dec. 15 – a change from previous years. Consumers must sign up by Dec. 15 to have coverage effective Jan. 1. The open enrollment period may be the only time consumers will be able to enroll for 2018, and those who do not purchase a plan may be subject to a penalty, as well as being uninsured for the year. On-exchange plans can be purchased at Healthcare.gov. Consumers who need assistance enrolling may visit https://localhelp.healthcare.gov to find free resources in their area.

For more information on 2018 rates and resources for shopping for health insurance, visit www.insurance.pa.gov.

And, as always, if you have questions, please contact my office.  
 

Sincerely,
 

Rep. John Galloway