Insurance Broker Blog

What's next for the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has changed the health care industry since it became law in 2010. Insurance brokers, you and your employer groups know that very well.

More Americans have insurance than ever before (over 91 percent as of early 2016), but premiums have risen at faster than expected rates (an average of 25 percent for 2017). Some insurers have exited the market due to losses.

In the wake of the U.S. elections, it’s clear that even more change to health care is on the way. Your clients might have questions about the ACA's future. While no one has a clear answer just yet, we can make some estimation about where things might end up.

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President-elect Trump and the Republican Party campaigned on a promise to repeal the ACA. With Republicans now in control of both the White House and Congress, it's almost certain that the ACA law will at a minimum, be changed. What's uncertain is exactly how. Other options that Congress could consider are replacing the ACA with an entirely new program, or just simply repealing it.

What's next for the Affordable Care Act?

While the ACA will be a top priority for the incoming Congress, the law will not be completely dismantled overnight. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said that a transition period will be necessary if the ACA is repealed. President-elect Trump has indicated support for two of the more popular provisions of the law. A majority of Americans agree: 85 percent support allowing children to remain on parents’ insurance through age 26 and 69 percent favor the requirement for insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.

In her ‘Washington Insider’ article for a National Association of Dental Plans (NADP) publication, Lisa Layman of Brown Rudnick states that it is “generally accepted. . .that a transition period will be necessary before the Medicaid expansion and tax credits are repealed.”

Ms. Layman notes that while the expansion of Medicaid eligibility is optional to states under the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, 31 states and D.C. have adopted it—19 of which have Republican senators.

Conversely, 10 Democratic senators represent states that voted for Mr. Trump. Ms. Layman points out that those senators could be “under enormous pressure to ‘give the voters what they wanted’ and support Republican efforts to repeal.”

While it remains to be seen what exactly will become of the Affordable Care Act, or what a replacement law for ACA could look like, stay tuned to legislative developments. It'll come in handy for answering your clients' questions


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