In 2019, More Options Available to Save on Health Insurance | Citizens Against Government Waste

In 2019, More Options Available to Save on Health Insurance

The WasteWatcher

Once again, open enrollment began for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare.  The time frame to enroll is from November 1, 2018 to December 15, 2018 for coverage in 2019.

There should be no surprise that individuals will discover once again, without government subsidies, the price of health insurance will be sky-high.  Currently, the household income limit to receive a subsidy is $48,560 for an individual.  Using a salary of $55,000, here are some examples of the lowest premium costs for healthcare plans across the country.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the average monthly premium for the second-lowest cost silver plan in 2019 will be $406, for a 27-year old non-smoker.  In 2016, the cost was $240.

While premiums did decline slightly from 2018, just 1.5 percent, many individuals and families will find that an Obamacare plan is simply too expensive.  Fortunately, thanks to actions taken by Congress and the Trump administration, there are now more and less expensive alternatives.

Because Congress essentially eliminated the Obamacare mandate by reducing the tax to zero for not purchasing health insurance and the Trump administration issued a rule in August 2018 that renewed and expanded short-term, limited duration (STLD) health insurance plans, individuals and families will have access to affordable health insurance.  These types of plans do not have to comply with Obamacare’s expensive mandates, such as the ten essential benefits.  For example, a single man should not be forced to purchase maternity and pediatric coverage.  CAGW discussed this important rule change in the August 1, 2018, WasteWatcher, “New Trump Administration Rule Provides More Healthcare Choices for Americans.”

The savings utilizing a STLD plan can be quite substantial.  For example, a friend of CAGW, who lives in the D.C. area, was shopping for a health insurance plan for a family of five, consisting of two healthy adults in their 40s and three healthy children.  The cheapest Obamacare plan he could find for 2019 would cost $19,284 annually in premiums, has a family deductible of $13,500, a 35-percent coinsurance after the deductible is reached, and would include copays.

Thanks to the changes the Trump administration made to STLD plans, he has some real options.  The most expensive STLD plan available to his family has a yearly premium that is one-third cheaper than the lowest cost Obamacare plan.

While subject to underwriting for January and for renewal in July, he has decided to purchase a plan with a $600 premium per month.  There is a $1,000 per person deductible per six month term ($2,000 per year) and a maximum $6,000 OOP per person per term ($12,000 per year).  He estimates his family will save about $1,000 per month with this plan.

It is unfortunate that the Republican-led Congress was unable to pass a viable alternative to Obamacare these past two years.  And while there is a replacement plan that is being crafted in the Senate called the Health Care Choices Proposal, which CAGW wrote about on August 16, it is unlikely to be passed and signed into law unless the Republicans maintain control in the House and Senate.

Meanwhile, the elimination of the Obamacare individual mandate and the work the Trump administration is doing to bring down health insurance costs will help millions of Americans.

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