Despite Republican threats to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, it has provided about 20 million people with health insurance coverage through the marketplace, the expansion of Medicaid or because they can stay on their parents’ plans. Taking their insurance away may well create a kind of medical chaos that leaves people unable to pay medical bills or get treatment they need.
In The New York Times, Paul Krugman wrote that Obamacare apparently crossed a rough patch where insurance premiums rose because insurance companies needed to recoup losses after more sick people signed up than did those who were healthy. But now insurers have begun to make a profit. “Obamacare hit a bump in the road, but appears to be back on track,” he said.
You still have time to sign up for health insurance coverage for 2017.
Open enrollment ends on January 31, 2017. That means your coverage will likely start at the beginning of March 2017 and extend for the rest of the year.
HHS officials do acknowledge that premiums in some states will rise 16 percent in 2017 and that prices vary widely from state to state. In Arkansas, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Massachusetts and California, premiums will rise 7 percent.
Tax credits will offset the premium increases for about 2.5 million people. HHS offers the example of a 27-year-old in Dallas, Texas who earns $25,000. Her insurance premium cost $143 a month in 2016 and she’ll pay the same in 2017 even with a premium hike, thanks to tax credits.
So, if you don’t have health insurance, forget the noise about repeal and take a look at HealthCare.gov to find out how to get covered.