According to a Gallup poll that was conducted this past March, health care is at the top of people’s concern. Of the 1,041 adults surveyed, 55 percent said that they worried “a great deal” over the cost and availability of health care, and 23 percent that they worried “a fair amount.”
Concern over health care is nothing new; in fact, this is the fifth consecutive year that Americans have ranked health care as a top concern. With all the changes that we’ve seen in recent years, and even more pressing, in recent months, it’s easy to understand why this is the case.
What Has Changed
The current administration has weakened ACA rules on state insurance standards and has essentially eliminated the individual mandate. Once again, states have greater control over what benefits they have to ensure coverage for. Instead of being limited to covering 10 essential health benefits (EHBs), states will now be able to choose from 50 EHB-benchmark plans or select specific EHB categories to cover or not cover. Additionally, state regulators must review premium increases on 15 percent or more; previously, they had review premium increases of 10 percent.
Short-term health insurance plans, which were previously available for a 90-day period, will soon be available for nearly a full year. These health insurance plans, which are generally significantly cheaper than long-term options, do not have to provide coverage for ACA’s 10 essential health benefits. Young, healthy individuals who are not eligible for subsidies may be enticed by lower monthly premiums (and hope that they never actually have to use their insurance).
Increase in Premiums
With all of the changes that we’ve already seen, not to mention those that are on the horizon, there’s one thing that probably won’t be changing: for many Americans, high quality health insurance will come with a high premium. In fact, according to a recent study, health insurance premiums could increase for individual plans on the ACA marketplace between 35 and 94 percent by 2021.
This is largely due to the repeal of the individual mandate, which imposed a hefty tax penalty on those who didn’t sign up for health insurance. As healthy people whose income is too high to qualify for subsidies turn to cheaper health insurance policies (with fewer benefits), the individual market will be made up of low income people who qualify for subsidies and sick people who can’t go without coverage. In other words, the market will be made up of those most likely to file a health insurance claim, and higher premiums are necessary to offset that expense.
When shopping around for health insurance, your monthly premium is just one aspect to consider. Sure, a low monthly premium is nice, but if your insurance is all but worthless if you find yourself facing a major health crisis (which can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of health and lifestyle), you haven’t saved yourself a single dime. Talk to your Las Vegas Nevada health insurance agent to determine what health insurance plan will fit within your budget while accommodating your current and future health needs.