FACTUAL NEWS FLASH! Yesterday, the executive branch took two actions that are designed to have a negative long-term effect on the success of the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Everything we know now indicates that the 2018 Open Enrollment Period will continue as planned, and eligible consumers in Alaska will have options for health coverage that include both Adjusted Premium Tax Credits (APTCs) and Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs), just like before.
Please help share the following messages with your communities and networks: • Open Enrollment for 2018 Marketplace plans begins November 1 and lasts until December 15. The Administration’s actions do not change anything about the upcoming Open Enrollment Period. • Financial help with premiums and with cost-sharing (lowering the cost to see a doctor or for other healthcare expenses) are still available to consumers. • ***We still anticipate Premera will reduce their rates in Alaska this year, even without CSRs. • All consumers—new and renewing—should return to the Marketplace during Open Enrollment to explore their options and enroll in health coverage. Plan and prices change every year, but it’s more important than ever to make sure the plan you had in 2017 is still right for 2018. • In-person help is still available to help people understand their options and enroll in coverage. People can call 1-844-PLANSAK or go to www.getcoveredalaska.org to find free local help.
Decision to Halt Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSR) Reimbursement : The Trump administration says it will end the payments insurance companies receive to offset the cost of the cost-sharing reductions in Marketplace plans. Insurance companies are legally obligated to reduce the out-of-pocket costs for qualifying consumers, so cost-sharing subsidies will still be available to consumers. But, this announcement means that insurance companies won’t get any money from the federal government for these costs, apparently effective immediately. That means they will likely need to raise premiums to make up for this or may choose to leave the Marketplace all together. ***However, Alaska’s issuer Premera has projected a rate decrease in Alaska, even without CSRs. While CSRs are part of the ACA, Congress has never officially approved the funding to pay for them, which means the Executive Branch has been the one making the payments, starting under President Obama, and continuing under President Trump until now.
Could this issue be resolved? • Congress could act to fund cost-sharing reductions at any time. There’s already a bipartisan group in the Senate who has been exploring how to make this happen. The Administration has commented to the press they may decide to continue issuing CSR payments if a bipartisan deal is made. • We are likely to see lawsuits from both states and insurance companies about the decision to end these payments, so this isn’t the end of this story. • If the issue isn’t resolved, insurance companies will have to make choices for 2019 about how they will make up for the loss of CSR payments. But, a lot could happen between now & 2019, so we should not speculate about what consumer options will be then.
Executive Order: The Trump Administration also issued an executive order that instructs federal agencies to explore and consider regulatory changes that many fear could severely destabilize the insurance market. The order makes changes to: • Expand access to association health plans, in which a group of small employers can band together to buy insurance as a collective. • Expand access to short-term health plans. These policies do not meet ACA requirements and do not cover much. Today, consumers can only keep one for three months. President Trump wants to extend that time limit to a year. This order makes no immediate changes to the health insurance market. The Labor Department and the Health and Human Services Department will have to write regulations to make any of these policy changes effective, and that will likely take time.
October is Children's Health month, with information and links that you can use -- in October and throughout the year. We will work with parents, teachers, and health providers to promote healthy environments where children live, learn and play.
2018 Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. Outside the Open Enrollment Period, you generally can enroll in a health insurance plan only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. ... See MoreSee Less
In October, and all year long, we offer hope to those affected by breast cancer. This Breast Cancer Awareness month we will bring attention to the importance of early detection of breast cancer. ... See MoreSee Less
Flu shots free for ages 6 months and up while supplies last. Get ready for flu season while helping the FNSB community prepare for a mass-vaccination emergency. Free bus rides to and from the event on all lines. Clinics will be held at Noel Wien Library, 1215 Cowles St and North Pole Library, 656 NPHS Blvd. Call 907-452-1776 for more information. ... See MoreSee Less