EDITORIAL: More Connecticut residents using Affordable Care Act this year

EDITORIAL: More Connecticut residents using Affordable Care Act this year



 

The Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – has been the law of the land for eight years. But Republicans remain fixated on seeing it fail.

Just recently, the GOP did away with the ACA’s "individual mandate" – which punished those who did not have health insurance with an Internal Revenue Service penalty.

Many see this move as a death blow to the ACA, as young, healthy individuals may now chose to go without insurance, driving up costs for others.

Also, President Donald Trump used his authority to end federal "cost-sharing" payments to insurers that helped them offer lower co-payments and deductibles to low-income people.

And striking at Obamacare from another angle, the Trump administration is cutting most of the funds previously provided to groups that help people get health insurance under the ACA.

While Obamacare may be on life support, it’s still alive.

A new federal report shows that enrollment in Connecticut's Affordable Care Act marketplace increased this year, even as the cost of health insurance rose sharply.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said 106,475 Connecticut individuals and families enrolled in a health insurance plan through Access Health CT this year. That's up from 92,697 in 2017.

The average ACA health monthly premium in Connecticut rose from $545.41 in 2017 to $689.26 this year, CMS said. But for 75 percent of Access Health CT enrollees, the federal government paid most of that premium.

The percentage of people who receive help purchasing insurance in Connecticut was higher than in some states – in New York only 57 percent of enrollees qualify for that help – and lower than others. In Florida, for instance, it is 94 percent and in Alabama 92 percent.

Interestingly, of the 8.8 million people signed up for ACA coverage in 2018, 7.3 million of them come from states Trump carried in the presidential election.

Clearly, Americans want the peace of mind that maintaining health insurance brings. After all, illness and accidents happen to both liberals and conservatives.

Obamacare isn't perfect, but until a better plan to provide affordable health care comes along, it's worth saving.


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