Next Obamacare enrollment: Stability mixed with trepidation
Obamacare’s insurance exchanges, after years of skyrocketing premiums and bolting insurers, are showing signs of something that has been elusive since the first open enrollment six years ago: Stability.
When consumers take part in this year’s open enrollment period on Nov. 1, they’ll be avoiding the sticker shock of previous years. Insurers are, on average, making modest rate increases ahead of the period. And some insurers are also returning to Obamacare’s insurance exchanges after watching their colleagues rake in profits.
“Carriers that stayed in the market figured out how to make money,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior policy adviser for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Other carriers watched that.”
Yet there is still room for doubt over the future. Obamacare’s allies are worried about the effects of cuts to advertising and outreach for open enrollment, along with the presence of new competition from Trump administration-approved plans that could erode enrollment in the exchanges.
Congressional Democrats argue that new regulations from the Trump administration will put the exchanges on the brink of collapse.
Democrats and Obamacare allies warn that the Trump administration is “sabotaging” the healthcare law by expanding access to short-term and association health plans that could compete with plans sold on the law’s insurance exchanges. They also claim that the GOP has damaged the law by eliminating Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty for not having insurance, a provision that was considered the linchpin of the healthcare system.