At midnight last night, the clock ran out on signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)….commonly known as Obamacare. Well, sort of. While the open enrollment period hasn’t been extended – CNBC News says some people are receiving extra time to wrap up their applications.
Customers scrambling to sign up in insurance plans sold through the federal Obamacare exchange by Tuesday night’s enrollment deadline slowed down service on that marketplace’s website during the day Tuesday.
Many customers were being asked to remain in an online “waiting room” on HealthCare.gov, which serves residents of 39 states, until their application could be processed.Because of the volume, the Trump administration will allowHealthCare.gov customers using the site’s call center a grace period in coming days to complete their application on that exchange.
With all the talk of repeal and replace, there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the health law’s future. From the Washington Post:
“The 2017 open-enrollment period could be the final one under the ACA, depending on what happens in Congress in coming months. President Trump and Republican lawmakers have said that dismantling the 2010 law is a top priority. Although there is no consensus about what will succeed it, they have said they want a smooth transition for the roughly 10 million Americans with individual health plans through the federal exchange and similar state-run marketplaces.”
NBC News added, “the six-year-old health care reform law has never been more popular. And it’s never been more doomed, although Republicans are still arguing over how and when to replace it — and whether to just tweak the Affordable Care Act and rename it, or completely repeal it and start over again from scratch.”
As we have noted in several previous blogs, people with insurance through the ACA will likely keep their coverage through 2017 regardless of what President Trump and the Republican congress do or do not do in the coming months. According to Investors Business Daily:
If you sign up before the start of Feb. 1, you’ll have coverage by March for the rest of 2017, regardless of what action Congress takes. But wait — how’s that possible? After all, isn’t the government about to end or alter the program? Yes, but not right away. The program’s health insurance policies are legal contracts that guarantee coverage through the year’s end. It is unlikely that that guarantee would be broken.
Let us know how you think the next few months will shake out, and whether you believe that a new health law (if one is chosen to replace Obamacare) should further the goal of achieving better care, better health and lower cost for the people of our state. Generating conversations around the health issues making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!