They’ve Got You Covered, But for How Much Longer? Only time will tell what Trump’s America holds
In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a new sheriff in town and change is imminent. With President-elect Donald Trump taking the reins soon, Americans are left with a staggering question: What now? A central strategy of the to-be POTUS’ campaign was highlighting the disadvantages that came along with some of President Barack Obama’s implemented plans to improve the lives of the American people. One of the most important of his tenure’s milestones being none other than the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Donald Trump wasn’t the only person to express woes about what’s now more easily referred to as Obamacare. The health care plan, set into motion six years ago, has been both criticized and hailed. Celebrated for its dedication to providing all citizens with access to health care, and berated by others for its financial implications. Like many a political strife, this sample of the Obama administration’s legacy is set to change; the result of conflicting interests, during what may be history’s most pivotal transition of power between Democrats
The fact remains: people need health care. While many are opposed to the financial burden that comes with “providing for one another,” under Obamacare, there are still those that see benefit of the programs in place – leaving many citizens concerned for their future and their ability to preserve assistance. However, many are struggling with the idea of potentially losing coverage for aspects like preexisting conditions or parental insurance plan retention until age 26.
So what now? Based on campaign messaging, social media and general party discussion – there seems to be a few options on the drawing boards. Repealing seems the most obvious response for attempting to resurrect the sanctity of our past methods; leaving health care options up to individuals and their employees with no guaranteed coverage for those without it. However, this conversation’s solution isn’t as simple as a switch you can flick on or off. A repeal would call for a major bill to pass; meaning that Democrats, many of whom worked alongside Obama to bring the healthcare option to the population, would throw away their hard-earned doings.
Americans are seemingly just as divided as the political parties poised to combat such a change. A poll released by The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 49 percent of Americans are either opposed to a repeal of current laws or feel that only amendments and expansions should be made to reflect the interests of all. This statistic controverts the 26 percent of the population that want the entire law repealed and the other 17 percent that would like to see the law scaled back.
One of the biggest hurdles of the changes to come stands in the lane of the health insurance industry. Medical professionals throughout the nation are on the edge of their seats. Even the smallest of changes to regulations could signal the need for a complete overhaul of internal systems, patient treatment options and
Kevin Kaplan, vice president of Sales and Account Management for Sparrow’s Physicians Health Plan, one of the region’s largest health care and insurance providers, acknowledges that while there is tension in the air surrounding what’s to come, it’s important to remember that this is all about taking care of one another and planning ahead.
“The biggest challenge is to manage the risk pool,” explained Kaplan. “It has always been a challenge to get everyone covered by health insurance. Young, healthy people need to contribute to help cover older and unhealthy people. We can’t only worry about getting insurance after we are sick.”
Locally, there are some trends that coincide with November’s election results. People are beginning to acknowledge the importance of industry changes and are preemptively taking action to ensure that they will be satisfied with their coverage regardless of the outcome.
“The first thing PHP noticed was that concerned patients purchased more individual polices right after the election. Some people felt compelled to get coverage now to have it in place when they need it. I recommend everyone at least look at what their options are. They might qualify for a subsidy. Everyone in government who speaks about health care wants accessible, quality care.”
These actions are a reflection of a large, nationwide narrative. Rightfully so, these impulsive actions may be interpreted as an onset of panic. However, Americans who have applied for Obamacare for 2017 can rest assured that they won’t be turned away in the coming year. With open-enrollment having closed, those who have applied are seemingly exempt to changes that may occur over the next year. Only with an executive order and a firm decision by congress could this become untrue, both of which would ultimately leave the Obama administration’s estimated 11.4 million people without coverage for the foreseeable future.
“Many Americans are concerned about health care changes, but insurance companies need time to implement any changes that are made,” said Kaplan. “Therefore, there is probably little need to worry about 2017. PHP is working on our 2018 plans, which need to be filed with regulators early in the year.”
Only time will tell what changes will come to the health care industry, but truth be told, they will happen. Left with only speculation, it’s important to consider your current health care options and what your next step will be. If you’re a recipient of Obamacare, it might be time to research alternative health care options. Educate yourself on the industry’s political landscape to better ensure that you and your loved ones will be protected down the road, when you might need it the most.
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