President Donald Trump is said to be finalizing an executive order to bring changes to the health insurance market after two failed attempts to repeal Obamacare.
Time Magazine wrote that the executive order, “would expand health plans offered by associations to allow individuals to pool together and buy insurance outside their states, a unilateral move that follows failed efforts by Congress to overhaul the health care system.”
President Donald Trump has long asserted that selling insurance across state lines would trigger competition that brings down premiums for people buying their own policies. Experts say that’s not guaranteed, partly because health insurance reflects local medical costs, which vary widely around the country. Moreover, White House actions may come too late to have much impact on premiums for 2018.
According to ABC News, “Under the president’s executive action, membership groups could sponsor insurance plans that cost less because — for example — they wouldn’t have to offer the full menu of benefits required under the Affordable Care Act, also called “Obamacare.” It’s unclear how the White House plans to overcome opposition from state insurance regulators, who see that as an end-run to avoid standards.”
In short, according to the Wall Street Journal, the order will:
- Direct federal agencies to expand access to association health plans, which would be exempt from many of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage requirements.
- Expand access to short-term health plans, which also cover a more limited set of benefits, with a lower premium. President Obama limited those plans to 90 days; Trump will likely allow people to buy them for up to a year.
- Allow consumers to use tax-preferred health savings accounts to pay their premiums.
PBS.org added, “It was unclear if the expected White House order could lead to changes sweeping enough and quick enough to help several million consumers exposed to higher premiums next year for their individual health insurance plans.”
It typically takes government agencies several months to carry out presidential directives, since they generally must follow a notice-and-comment process. Sign-up season for individual health insurance starts Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15.
“Whether this executive order could impact the 2018 market is yet to be seen, since the health plans have created and priced their 2018 products already, and open enrollment begins in just three weeks,” said health industry consultant Robert Laszewski.
Share your thoughts on the executive order and what it could mean here in our state. Do you believe Arizonans would look to get coverage outside Arizona? If so, what do you think they will find? Generating conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!