January 6th, 2016 – On January 31st Open Enrollment for 2016 will come to a close, marking the end of when most people can purchase individual and family health insurance without a Qualifying Event. Open Enrollment will reopen next November for new plans that will take effect on January 1st, 2017.
Meanwhile, Republicans are mounting a full fledged attack to dismantle key parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by going after it’s funding. The Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act bill (H.R. 3672), seeks to reduce the federal deficit by about $52 billion per year.
The Senate approved the current version of H.R. 3672. House leaders expect the House to vote on the measure tomorrow. President Obama plans to veto the bill, which means that H.R. 3672 supporters would need to win two-thirds majority votes in both the House and the Senate to overturn his veto.
The bill would leave the popular current requirement for insurance companies to cover people regardless of pre-existing conditions and that premiums can only be set by age, location and tobacco use.
H.R. 3762 would eliminate the ACA’s tax penalties for not having health insurance as well as eliminate requirements for employers with 50+ employees to offer employees’ health insurance. It would also remove Medicaid expansion funding and health insurance exchange coverage subsidies starting in 2018 or later.
Analysts at the Congressional Budget Office predict this would increase the number of Americans without any public or private health insurance from 26 million today to 43 million. However, if health insurance markets are destabilized that may result in higher costs for people who continue to carry health insurance, which could result in even more uninsured Americans.