For the past two years, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” has slowly gained in popularity among Americans. Most recent polls show that 50% of Americans approve of the healthcare bill and 40% disprove.
Although 35% of Americans don’t know the ACA and Obamacare are the same thing.
In 2019, Americans should like it slightly more because the prices for the benchmark silver plan will decline by 1.5%. This will be the first year average premiums have declined since the healthcare exchanges opened in 2014.
“Though the average decrease is small, it is a dramatic and very positive change from the double-digit increases experienced over the past two years,” Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told CNN.
Most Obamacare enrollees won’t notice the drop in price because they receive federal subsidies to decrease the cost.
There will also be 23 more insurance carriers next year, and the number of states with a single carrier will drop from 10 to four.
This price decrease comes in spite of the Trump Administration’s efforts to make Obamacare prices higher. The individual healthcare mandate was eliminated as part of the Trump Administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
“Premiums would be even lower if not for repeal of the individual mandate penalty and expansion of short-term plans,” Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, on Twitter.
The Trump Administration also plans to release low-cost, short-term healthcare plans that last up to three years. They offer skimpier coverage, monster deductibles, and are not open to people with preexisting conditions. These plans may undermine Obamacare by undercutting its prices.
“If consumers think Obamacare premiums are high today, wait until people flood into these short-term and association health plans,” industry consultant Robert Laszewski told Kaiser Health News. “The Trump administration will bring rates down substantially for healthy people, but woe unto those who get a condition and have to go back into Obamacare.”
Shre imge by Ted Eytan/Flickr