Throughout most of 2017 we all watched anxiously as Congress and President Trump debated different methods of repealing or replacing the Affordable Care Act. Now October has arrived, a repeal plan never passed, there is no replacement, and Open Enrollment looms next month. The Affordable Care Act stands for now.
But that doesn’t mean a lack of changes to the industry. The following events were already scheduled to occur, and so far it looks like everything will proceed as expected.
Rates for children will change. Currently, a family plan covers you, your spouse, and all of your children (up to age 26). The premiums were the same no matter if your child was a newborn or 20 years old.
In 2018, premiums will be based upon a family with children age 0 to 14. If you have children age 15 and up, premiums will be rated based on their ages, and might rise between 20 and 40 percent.
A new tax hits insurance carriers. The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) was included in the Affordable Care Act as a form of “sales tax” on premiums, but Congress opted to delay it until 2018. Now, with 2018 rapidly approaching, health insurance providers will have to decide how to account for the tax. A 4-6% HIT on insurance plans sold.
Many experts have estimated that the cost will be passed along to consumers, with the average cost of a family insurance plan increasing by 5,000 to 7,000 dollars over the next decade. Premiums for individuals may increase by over 2,000 dollars per year.
New Medicare ID cards will be distributed. These cards will no longer display your Social Security number, due to concerns over theft and fraud related to widespread use of these numbers. You will now be issued a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI) number. Your new card will be mailed to you automatically, so be very wary of anyone who calls and offers to “help” process your card. Fraudsters are sure to take advantage of the change, and attempt to gain access to your Social Security number via fraudulent calls or emails.
We will continue to keep you updated on changes to the insurance industry. Remember that you can always call us with any questions or concerns, and we will help you determine which (and how) changes might affect you.