Open enrollment for 2019 health insurance plans may seem like a long way off, but we’ve already started to hear the buzz. The future of Obamacare is once again gaining media attention, and organizations such as The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation are beginning to track rate changes as they become available.
What do we know about 2019 open enrollment, the future of Obamacare and how much premiums will fluctuate in the next year? Let’s take a look at what we know so far.
What are the Obamacare open enrollment dates?
The national open enrollment period in which you can purchase health insurance for 2019 will be:
Open enrollment begins Nov. 1, 2018,1 and ends Dec. 15, 2018.
Last year, some individual states managing their own exchanges extended the end date, and it is likely they will do so again. Stay tuned for state-related updates as open enrollment nears.
How much will health insurance premium rates increase in 2019?
At this point, it’s difficult to say what 2019 premiums will look like across the board. Health insurers are currently filing rates for approval. That said, some preliminary data is available.
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation reports changes from -20% to 35% for major cities in states where rates are already available to the public.2
Their analysis shows decreases in Minneapolis (-20%) and Richmond, Virginia, (-19%) with increases in 9 cities, with the largest being in Baltimore (35%) and New York (17%).
Will the individual mandate be enforced next year?
The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most people have health insurance remained in place for 2018.4 And, technically, the individual mandate (formally known as the individual shared responsibility provision) remains in effect now and in the future. The related tax penalty (i.e., the individual shared responsibility payment) remains in effect for 2018 as well.
What will change in 2019? The tax penalty will not be enforced. As of Jan. 1, 2019, the tax penalty will be repealed and you will not be penalized for failing to enroll in minimum essential coverage.5
That means if you don’t have major medical insurance in 2019 and are not exempt, you won’t owe a tax penalty when you file your 2019 taxes in 2020. That said, if you go without any health insurance, you will be paying for healthcare out of pocket.
Are subsidies going away?
Not to our knowledge. As of now, premium tax credits remain available.
What is changing with Obamacare? Has it been repealed yet?
The Affordable Care Act still remains law. That said, actions are being taken to dismantle it, including the tax penalty repeal mentioned above.
This week, the Trump Administration issued new rules that 1) allow small businesses and individuals who are self-employed to buy association health plans and 2) allow association plans to sell insurance across state lines.6
Additionally, the Justice Department in June announced that it would not defend key ACA provisions in court challenges, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions.8 Under the ACA, major medical plans must be guaranteed issue, which means health insurance companies cannot deny people coverage or charge them more based on their health history.
Some fear, as stated in an NPR article on the matter, that the Trump administration’s withdrawal of support for consumer protections such as this could upend insurance markets for next year.
At this point, however, no changes have been made to this provision.
Keep in touch!
Continue to visit Health eDeals for additional information about 2019 open enrollment along with state and federal news and updates that could impact your coverage.