President-elect Trump’s inauguration is set for January 20th. One of his first and perhaps most public commitments is to repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) as it stands today. While Congress already has begun putting the steps in motion to initiate the process.. – we likely won’t see it come to fruition for several weeks after he’s come in to office. Even then, the repeal might not even be made effective until much later down the road. That said, when it does come into effect – many believe we will be able to offer better care at lower prices.
Recently, Employee Benefit Adviser published an article, stemming from a study, stating employer’s top concern going into 2017 is the ACA – specifically noting their unease over the employer mandates that were enacted as part of Obamacare. While we can assume these mandates were created with good intentions, they quickly shot health benefit costs to new heights. By July of 2016, all but 7 co-ops (nonprofit plans) had collapsed due to their inability to keep up with these rising prices. The subsequent reduction in competition was a direct result of government regulation which made it nearly impossible for any entity other than mega-carriers to manage risk with mandated underwriting and rating requirements.
Exactly what President Trump’s new plan will entail is still unclear, but it is anticipated that mandates will be eliminated in their entirety. Studies have long proven mandates to be ineffective – as previously noted by American Express, employer mandates “hurt small businesses more than they help them.”
We can also safely assume certain aspects of the ACA will remain. The plan issued by the GOP party earlier in 2016, which is anticipated to closely resemble Trump’s final plan, recommended keeping children under 26 eligible for coverage on their parent’s plans and continuing to forbid insurers from dropping coverage if a policyholder becomes ill. In fact, I spoke with Modern Medicine about the GOP’s plan last summer.
While, as a nation, we remain unsure exactly what Trump’s changes to the ACA will be, and exactly when they will come into effect, consumers, business owners and insurance companies alike are hopeful for an end to employer mandates. While some pieces have been successful, it is important that we look at those that simply did not work, such as employer mandates, and take this as an opportunity to recreate a broken system.