If you’re wondering what’s going to happen to your healthcare insurance, you are in the company of millions.
No one, including Donald Trump, can predict what changes are coming. Trump is not a detail person, and despite tweeting that “there will be healthcare for all,” he doesn’t get the massive complexity of creating healthcare policies for a nation as large as the US.
He is talking about Universal healthcare—that big scary word that everyone despised when former President Obama first presented the notion back in the beginning of his presidency (and when others presented it during the decades before). Now Universal Healthcare is a Good Thing. It is, in fact, a Trump thing.
But what will the search for Trump’s bigger-better-more-important-than-ACA-unihealth do to the existing system? And what will it mean to you?
I decided to get some answers from someone on the front lines, insurance broker Jesse D. McDonald, who has worked for more than 20 years with the changing healthcare laws in CT.
Jesse offered his very well-informed perspective on where things may be headed. Here are some of his insights – but you should listen to the full interview for yourself!
Highlights of my interview with Jesse D. McDonald of Modern Insurance, Milford CT
BIG CHANGES AHEAD: When could we see changes that actually affect policies?
Even fast actions are not likely to affect 2017 coverage.
“Usually, major pieces of legislation are forward-looking and are not going to be retroactive. The defunding of aspects of Obamacare—which is going to be mainly subsidy related—is going to be forward-looking, and 2017 is pretty much etched in stone….The only thing anyone can do right now, especially given the uncertainty of what’s to come is to make sure they have coverage now in place.”
You have another 4 days left to obtain coverage through the ACA for 2017, which starts on March 1st. If you don’t have coverage, visit www.healthcare.gov for information.
COVERAGE: Why is having coverage now important if it’s going to change?
“One of the Republican healthcare plans being put forward is from the incoming Health and Human Services Secretary representative out of Georgia named Tom Price, who is likely going to be confirmed…His healthcare plan has a stipulation that preexisting conditions are going to be covered under health insurance plans in the future, but only if you’ve had 18 months of continuous coverage in effect, as of the time the new system starts.”
PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS: What’s happening there?
“Now [on Obamacare], as soon as you’re approved for coverage, from Day 1 your pre-existing conditions are covered. I think it’s going to be very difficult for Republicans to go back on that in any way.”
WINNERS AND LOSERS: Trump said that he plans to “give healthcare to everybody.” The Republicans revised that to mean “access to healthcare for everybody”. What does that look like?
“These are really broad terms and they sound like semantical distinctions between somebody advocating for some form of universal healthcare system—and not realizing that he’s saying that—and his political party saying that they don’t believe in a government-run system, ‘We want the market to take care of it.’”
“The deeply-held belief of many Republicans on healthcare policy is that the market will come up with solutions for gaps in our healthcare system. Some of those ideas are not necessarily wrong, there’s just some disagreement about how viable they really are in the real healthcare world.”
“Either way, both these statements are very broad political appeals to voters and they don’t really mean anything. At this time, there’s no concrete legislation drafted and submitted to congress…”
“Trump’s goal is health insurance for all. He has a lot of confidence in himself, the President-elect, and his goal is to win, and do better than Obamacare, which will mean even more people covered. And he believes that plan can be implemented quickly.”
– Jesse D. McDonald
REPEAL AND REPLACE – How fast can a replacement be put in place?
Trump’s order calls for replacement ‘within the hour of repeal…’
“I think policymakers, lawmakers—which are the congresspeople and senators—they know these things don’t move that quickly….This is a prediction on my part: you’re likely to see some sort of a resolution that repeals ACA over a timeline which keeps it in effect for longer than they would have liked to while they craft their replacement.”
INTERSTATE INSURANCE: All plans are currently state-based, meaning you need to be insured in the state in which you declare residency, and if you move, you lose your insurance. Many artists, particularly performers, travel and often move. How should they look to ensure continuity in coverage?
“The Affordable Care Act has a couple of things that protect people in regards to mobility. One is, even though you have to purchase a policy in your state of residence…If you have a medical emergency in any other part of the country, the health insurance you have has to consider those services as in network, as if you were home…Another thing is, if you do move…you do have 60 days to buy a new policy so you have time to get it in place.”
Interstate policies, according to Jesse, are not feasible for a number of reasons.
So, how freaked out should we be?
“There are many people who are very anti-Obamacare, and they have listened intently to what politicians have said during the campaigns and they’re expecting Obamacare to go away overnight and something bigger and better to come in and save the day. You can’t count on that. Healthcare legislation is complicated…”
“Having coverage in effect now is the best thing you can do…Because until the law is repealed, if you go beyond January 31st with no coverage, you can’t buy coverage again until November for the next year—and that’s dangerous in and of itself.”
“It’s very wait and see. I don’t think anyone should be freaked out at this time.”
3 THINGS TO DO
1) Get covered!
2) Keep up with changes
3) Ask questions
“Make sure you ask questions. The best information is going to come from an independent health insurance broker that is a member of an organization called The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU)…our version of a Bar Association.”
Jesse D. McDonald, of Modern Insurance in Milford CT, is available to answer questions for people who have or are seeking healthcare coverage in the states of New York and Connecticut. He can be reached at 203-882-9805 or by email at email@example.com
AND, SOME LIGHT READING ON HEALTHCARE:
NYTimes – Jan 21, 2017 Trump Issues Executive Order Scaling Back Parts of Obamacare
USA Today – Jan 23, 2017 GOP senators outline first Obamacare replacement plan
Money Magazine – Jan 17, 2017 – HR2300 Here’s the plan Trump’s health secretary pick doesn’t want to discuss
The Fiscal Times – Nov 30, 2016 8 Big Changes Under Tom Price’s Obamacare Replacement Plan
CNN.com – Jan 16, 2017 Trump’s HHS pick doesn’t want to flaunt his own Obamacare bill at confirmation hearing
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