If you are receiving health insurance via the Affordable Care Act (also known as ACA or Obamacare) you are probably concerned about what will happen if Congress repeals the act – as they seem likely to do. The possible scenarios are concerning. Though President Trump has stated that there will be an improved program to take its place, there are many open questions.
The first issue is that there does not appear to be a replacement plan. At least GOP officials have not developed one and President Trump has not made any details of a plan known. Some Republicans have indicated that it could take up to four years to implement a replacement. Another concern is what happens to those with pre-existing conditions.
One major accomplishment of the ACA is that it prevented insurance companies from denying coverage or or charging excess fees from those with pre-existing conditions. This is very important since most estimates of Americans under 65 with pre-existing conditions start around 25% of this population. This age is important because one becomes eligible for Medicare at age 65.
If the pre-existing condition exclusion is rescinded then many people will lose their insurance. If insurance companies are allowed to charge more for those with pre-existing conditions then many people will be priced out of the market. For example yearly treatment costs for a child with leukemia may average $45,000. So an insurance company would likely charge around $65,000 per year to insure that child. Obviously many cannot afford this cost.
So what is likely to happen when Congress repeals the ACA? The good news is that likely coverage will continue until the end of the year. The bad news is that unless Congress has a replacement plan in place, then tens of millions of people will lose insurance at the end of the year.
There is hope that at least some GOP members of Congress are aware of the problems associated with repealing the ACA without a replacement. One of the best things that those concerned about losing health care coverage can do to prevent possible catastrophic loss of health insurance is to contact your representative and make them aware of your concerns. You should also make sure that you are aware of a candidate's intentions and beliefs about health insurance when you cast your vote. Elected officials will ultimately listen to those who vote.
You can also visit our forums to discuss health insurance and voice you concerns about changes to insurance programs.