This year we have a Republican president who is determined to undermine the law of the land and has taken measures intended to reduce the number of Americans with health insurance. Trump has reduced the time period of open enrollment in half, to just 6 weeks, ending December 15. Possibly worse, he’s cut funding for advertising of open enrollment by 90% leaving groups that assist people in selecting and signing up for affordable, subsidized plans scrambling for ways to overcome the barriers.
A couple of weeks ago, in an attempt to overcome the lack of promotion, a small group of Democrats knocked on nearly 400 doors in Seguin handing out flyers and explaining that help is available through CentroMed and other providers both in and near Seguin. We want everyone to know that they can call one central phone number, 210-977-7997, or visit the coalition website www.enrollsa.com to make an appointment.
One of the great things about the Enroll SA coalition is even if the applicant isn’t eligible for subsidized health insurance through the Affordable Care Act the enrollment staff will check eligibility for other forms of assistance including Medicaid, CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) or low cost care at community clinics.
While some of Trumps efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act may very well have the intended effect his incompetence and that of his staff may also work against him. His executive order ending payments to insurance companies called cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies. They are paid directly to insurers, and they provide financial assistance for individuals who make between 100 and 250 percent of the poverty line. Cut those subsidies off, and insurers will try to make up the difference by raising premiums. In a report on the likely effects of cutting off the subsidies earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that premiums would be about 20 percent higher for typical plans purchased under the law.
But the joke is on Trump, as the premium hikes won't directly affect most low-income people, because Obamacare's subsidies increase with premiums, insulating those individuals from higher costs. Instead, this move is likely to raise premiums for people who earn too much to qualify for subsidies under Obamacare, the people who have already been hit hardest by the law's price hikes.
There are some reports of insurers offering plans with premiums in the range of $0-10 for those who are eligible for subsidies so if a member of your family or your friend isn’t currently insured be sure to let them know that now might be the best time of all to apply for coverage. Give them the phone number 210-977-7997, or help them visit the coalition website www.enrollsa.com to make an appointment. The great folks at CentroMed on County Line Road in New Braunfels as well as some organizations right here in Seguin can help anyone find out how to get covered.
Published in the Seguin Gazette - November 17, 2017