Q. I have coverage for my cancer treatment under the Affordable Care Act and am nervous it could be in jeopardy after President Obama leaves office. Can you provide some information and resources that could help me?
With a new, very different administration just a few weeks away, many in our community are worried about their insurance coverage and what this change will mean for the health care landscape.
First, the good news: although the president-elect and Republican leaders have signaled that they would like to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as early as January or February of 2017, it is unlikely they will be able to repeal certain key aspects of it, such as the ban on denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions. We do not anticipate any changes to the system that will directly affect you in 2017. Republican leaders have indicated a replacement is probably 2-3 years away.
Now, the not-so-good news: many of the changes that have been proposed may have serious consequences for your ability to access affordable, quality health insurance. For example, if the ACA is repealed, insurers would no longer be required to cover the 10 essential health benefits – such as hospitalization, maternity coverage, medications, and mental health services – and could impose annual dollar caps on your benefits. In addition, the ACA currently limits how much you have to pay per year for deductibles, co-insurance and copays, in the form of your “out-of-pocket maximum”. The current maximum for an individual is $7150. In the event of a repeal, there would no limit to the out of pocket costs to consumers. The organization Raising Women’s Voices has created a handy, one-page outline of what is at stake.
At this point, these changes are conjecture, since the new administration has yet to take office. It may be that opposition to these changes will prevent them from happening.
In the meantime, you can contact your elected officials and share your health insurance concerns. To find your elected officials, visit votesmart.org/officials. Social media contact information for current members of Congress can be found on triagecancer.org/congressional-twitter-handles.