How Will Trump’s Repeal of the Affordable Care Act Non-enrollment Fine Affect Enrollments in 2019?

The only part of the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, “Obamacare”) that was actually enacted was the repeal of the individual mandate. The individual mandate required all individuals to either have health insurance or pay a fine. Both the individual mandate and the fine were repealed effective January 1, 2019. The fine was very small, so it did not really ever serve as an inducement to get health insurance.

How Will the Repeal Affect 2019 ACA Enrollments?

Open season for 2019 Obamacare enrollments starts on November 1, 2019. Controversies aside, what will the impact of the repeal of the individual mandate and the fine have on 2019 enrollments? This is really beyond the ability of common sense, economics, or the social sciences to answer precisely. But we can hazard a few predictions.

  • The first is this: the fine, which was set to increase every year, never got large enough to really serve as an incentive to buy health insurance – paying the fine was never the economically worse choice, by a long shot.
  • Second, many people did not know that the government subsidies for insurance under the ACA were so big (depending on income) and that they had to pay only a very small premium. That knowledge is now becoming more common.
  • Third, after a rocky start, many health insurers are making good profits from selling ACA plans.
  • Fourth, worries about large swaths of the country being left with no ACA plans did not pan out.
  • Fifth and finally, insurers noticed a trick the law made available – they could load premium increases into their second-least-expensive “silver” plans, the cost of which was one factor in determining how big the subsidies the government offered were. This has the effect of making the silver plans simultaneously more profitable and more affordable

Did the News of the Repeal Affect 2018 Enrollments?

The upshot of all of this for 2019 enrollments appears to be that the repeal will have little impact, depending on the public’s knowledge of the ACA. Many people, for example, thought that the repeal of the individual mandate and the fine took effect immediately. In 2018, around 8.8 million people signed up for ACA plans. This was only 400,000 less than for 2017. An informed guess is that the 2019 enrollments will be roughly in line with the 2017 and 2018 enrollment numbers.

So How Does This Affect Me or My Family?

All of this means Obamacare is still available and that if you want health insurance at a reasonable price, it may be available to you. Your best move is to contact a professional Healthcare insurance agent to see what plans are available in your area. Visit Healthcare Insurance Company for assistance or call them at (815) 401-8383.