President Donald Trump said Monday that a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act will come out in two weeks. But the truth is that “no one really knows all the specifics or how long it will take,” said Ronnell Nolan, president and CEO of Health Agents for America (HAFA).
“The sausage-making has started,” she said during a webinar for HAFA members today.
After meeting with 30 members of Congress earlier this month and analyzing several ACA replacement proposals, Nolan said any changes made to the health care law will be made in three parts. Those parts are budget reconciliation, executive order and legislation.
She predicted the two main features of the current health care law that will be kept are the ban against denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and permitting dependents to remain on their parents’ insurance to age 26.
The ACA’s navigator program and the elimination of agent commissions are two aspects of the current health care law that have hurt health insurance agents and brokers. Nolan suggested that the federal government could save $120 million over the next two years by discontinuing the navigator program. She also called for removing agent commissions from the ACA’s Medical Loss Ratio provisions, thereby restoring payment to agents who enroll consumers in coverage.
Late last week, a Republican proposal to replace the ACA was leaked in various media. This proposal calls for tax subsidies based on age instead of income, scrapping Medicaid expansion by 2020, removing the requirement that insurance plans cover 10 essential health benefits, and establishing high-risk pools. In addition, Nolan said, the proposal would impose a tax on employer-based health plans and would impose a 30 percent premium penalty on consumers who enroll in coverage outside of open enrollment.
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at Susan.Rupe@innfeedback.com.
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