The Life And Death Of The Individual Mandate: Will Scrapping ‘Toothless’ Penalty Make A Difference?
The individual mandate has become a symbol of something much greater than itself for both sides, and now the tax package wipes it out in two simple sentences. But it's not entirely clear what the exact ramifications of getting rid of it will be, since it was always enforced with “a muffled bark and a toothless bite." Meanwhile, some states are thinking about taking their own steps to preserve it.
The New York Times:
Without The Insurance Mandate, Health Care’s Future May Be In Doubt
For years, the Obama administration said the health care system as constructed by the Affordable Care Act could not survive without a mandate that most Americans have health insurance. With surgical precision, the sweeping tax bill that Republicans plan to pass this week will do away with that mandate. What comes next for health care is unclear. (Pear, 12/18)
Insurers Brace For Repeal Of Individual Mandate
The GOP tax proposal, slated for a vote on Tuesday, would ax the Affordable Care Act's requirement that most individuals enroll in an insurance plan or pay a financial penalty starting in 2019. The potential repeal of the individual mandate, which is looking like a sure thing, has some health insurers worried and already thinking about potential rate hikes that would be needed to keep them from losing their shirts. Even though open enrollment for 2018 individual coverage ended last week, insurers already have their eyes on 2019. Initial requests for 2019 individual market coverage are due in the spring. (Livingston, 12/18)
The CT Mirror:
Tax Bill Eliminates Health Insurance Mandate, But CT May Impose Its Own
As Congress is about to vote on a tax overhaul that will gut the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that most Americans have health insurance, a number of states, including Connecticut, may consider a state-based penalty to encourage people to obtain coverage. Nearly 60,000 individuals and families in Connecticut paid a federal tax penalty last year because they did not have health insurance coverage in 2015, a penalty imposed by the ACA’s “individual mandate.” (Radelat, 12/18)
San Francisco Chronicle:
As Congress Prepares To Repeal Health Law Mandate, California To Explore ‘All Options’
Congressional Republicans appear to be moving full speed ahead in repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, prompting debate among California health care experts on how the state could continue encouraging residents to buy health insurance — including imposing a state-level requirement to purchase coverage. (Ho, 12/18)
And in other news —
MNsure On Track For ‘Modest’ Increase In Signups As Enrollment Deadline Nears
Having the state-run health care exchange MNsure means Minnesotans who buy insurance on the individual market have more time to enroll in a plan than much of the rest of the nation. But if they want to be covered by Jan. 1, they had better act fast. Wednesday is the deadline to enroll for coverage that’s effective the beginning of the year. Procrastinators have until Jan. 14 to pick a plan, but it won’t be effective until Feb. 1. Allison O’Toole, MNsure CEO, said Minnesota had new flexibility to set its open enrollment window this year and set a 10-week window after consultation with providers and health advocates. (Magan, 12/18)