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How Biden Can Support Affordable Health Insurance

 How Biden Can Support Affordable Health Insurance

How Biden Can Support Affordable Health Insurance
penalty for not having health insurance

As Vice President, Joe Biden played a major role in spreading the Affordable Health Insurance Act through Congress, transforming the American healthcare industry, and the famous whisper of former President Barack Obama over the finish line of the bill was a big deal.


Health insurance law looks a lot different today


Over the past four years, the last administration has mirrored a slew of components Biden has pledged to rebuild, and he is well-positioned to do so with a Democratic majority, and one of them is Health Insurance.


Some things will be easier to regroup than others, and additions or improvements including the general insurance option will undoubtedly be hotly contested. 


But it all comes on the heels of a historic global pandemic - an epidemic that only underscored just how divided the country's healthcare system is.


Biden could take a number of paths to achieve his health policy goals as COVID-19 remains center stage. 


Ongoing relief legislation is one way - the $ 1.9 trillion bailouts released last week propose expanding premium benefits and supporting continued coverage of the COBRA program for the now unemployed.


Because of the weak majority in the Senate, the most likely way he will take it is through legislation to amend the health insurance budget, which should change spending or revenue and require only a majority rather than a two-thirds vote, and avoid disruption. 


The process was used by Republicans in the 2017 Tax Cuts Act that set the individual authorization penalty to $ 0 and brought the Anti-Corruption Act to the Supreme Court today.


But Biden's primary focus will likely be on making sure people can access what the Health Insurance Law allows them to access.


The annual registration period for health insurance


The Trump administration has not (yet) succeeded in repealing the law completely, but policy experts say four years of regulatory adjustments have impeded two of its main tenants - access and affordability of health insurance on exchanges.


A possible early goal in rebuilding the Health Insurance Law is to promote aggressive activity on the part of the federal government to ensure that everyone who qualifies for medical benefits knows where to get them.


Marketing funding for Medicare and outreach was cut dramatically during the Trump era, along with funding for community navigators who helped people register. In 2017, the subscription period has also been shortened. 


People now have 45 days through November and early December instead of 92 days through January to subscribe to market coverage.


Biden could push for a variety of health insurance enrollment period adjustments, including the Coronavirus emergency registration period for 2021. 


The Trump administration rejected a special registration period for the pandemic in April.


It is unclear whether there is a plan to extend the annual enrollment period in the health insurance. Whereas, if funding is restored for outreach and registration efforts, it will likely give those efforts more time to act.


Restoring vigorous health education efforts and length of enrollment can help to gain more health awareness about eligibility, prompting people to apply who would not have known they would qualify for Medicaid based on their income or could receive premium tax credits.


The ability to afford health insurance


A major complaint about ACA, even among those who support it, has been the affordability of medical coverage. Making coverage affordable by expanding premium benefits is another part of Biden's plan.


Now, families that earn between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level qualify for tax credits to help pay for insurance costs on exchanges. Biden campaigned to remove this income cap and lower the maximum coverage cost to 8.5% of income.


It may track these changes through budget settlement legislation, and also push for a review of how to market subsidies that the Trump administration has modestly cut in all areas starting in 2020 are indexed.


This can help families whose incomes are above the maximum and who are still struggling to pay for health coverage, but there are still large portions of low-income people who remain uninsured, and they clearly have trouble providing coverage even with Benefits available.


The excellent tax breaks for health insurance need to be improved specifically for people who already qualify but still have trouble making the insurance premiums they have to pay under the current structure.


Access and Affordability: Reducing state exemptions for non-ACA-compliant plans


The recent correction to bring the Health Insurance back close to its original form is to reverse the Trump administration's directives on government concessions under Section 1332 that promoted plans inconsistent with the ACA.


These waivers expanded access to cheaper plans with what critics call junk coverage, which are short-term insurance plans designed to fill gaps in coverage for people moving between jobs. 


The new rules allowed it to be sold for a longer period than before - now with the option to renew for three years instead of three months.


Health insurance plans are often cheaper and more attractive to younger, healthier adults, and many short-term plans are exempt from the ten essential health benefits under the ACA that guarantee coverage for services such as emergency care and maternity care. 


They also widely discriminate against patients with pre-existing conditions, according to an investigation by the Democratic House of Representatives last year.


This is an area that Biden and his team can work on quickly, to grant concessions that comply with the law and expand coverage, and to reject those concessions that are covert attempts to reduce coverage.


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