After a failed attempt earlier in March this year to get the House to vote favorably for the Obamacare repeal and replace bill aka American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republicans managed to garner enough support to pass it with 217 GOP lawmakers saying yes. But all hurdles are not over yet for the Trump administration to completely dismantle Obamacare. The bill now has to face the music in the Senate and get approval. A confident Trump was all cheers for his team and mentioned that he has no doubt that Obamacare is nearing its end and the AHCA will get through the Senate.

So, where does all this leave you the consumer? Will your premiums increase this year? What are the changes for someone with pre-existing conditions? You might be confused by a number of these questions. Team TrueCoverage breaks it down for you in simple terms so that you can be well prepared for 2018 Open Enrollment.

Here are some key points in the American Health Care Act bill that the House passed on March 4, 2017:

  1. Say good bye to Obamacare subsidies and welcome tax-based credit system – A per the GOP healthcare bill you will not have income-based or cost-based subsidies when you shop for insurance on the health insurance exchanges. Instead the new bill proposes to put in place a tax credit system based on your age.
  2. It wouldn’t be mandatory to have health insurance but you will be penalized for continuous loss of coverage – AHCA repeals the tax penalty for not having health insurance as per the Obamacare individual mandate. But you will be penalized, a 30% surcharge, if you do not have continuous coverage for more than two months.
  3. States have more power to decide on pre-existing conditions : Under Obamacare, insurers had to cover people with pre-existing conditions, but AHCA allows States to waive this clause. It makes a point about States still having to help those with high-risk conditions to get coverage and provides an extra $8bn to subsidize those with pre-existing conditions.
  4. GOP bill repeals Employer Mandate : As per the Obamacare it was mandatory for Employers of larger companies to provide health insurance to their workforce. That has been scrapped.
  5. Medicaid expansion to get funding only till 2020 – Under the new legislation, Medicaid expansion will be capped in the coming years and States can bring about new eligibility conditions, such as the requirement to be employed. AHCA also proposes to put in place the Patient and State Stability Fund to provide financial assistance and affordable health insurance coverage for lower-income and sicker Americans.

No change in this ACA provision
Children below the age of 26 are allowed to get coverage under their parents’ insurance policies.

What’s next for the Republican Obamacare Replacement Bill?

The AHCA bill will now go to the Senate and might undergo more revisions. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will also review this version of the bill passed by the House and submit its report. The official scoring by the CBO will be considered by the Senate during the reconciliation process to pass it.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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