Greetings Ashlanders

“Does anybody really know what time it is?” If we’re talking about health insurance in the United States, the resounding answer is: No. Nobody knows what time it is at all. Nobody even knows what day it is. “Does anybody really care?” Yes. It turns out everybody really cares. The situation creates huge anxiety, and a commensurate amount of speculation. This is the first of a 3-part series about what’s new with our national struggle to create a sustainable healthcare system. We begin with 2019.

THE (IMMEDIATE) FUTURE OF HEALTH INSURANCE

Not surprisingly, this is a topic that comes up a lot in my discussions with people at open enrollment. Everyone seems to be wondering what will happen next. And, of course, it is a frequent discussion among health insurance professionals, and other stakeholders. But as we all know- there is no way to know. Next November we will again be in open enrollment. What kind of policies will be available? How much will they cost? Which insurance carriers will be represented in our area? I wish anyone knew.

Some trends and changes to both the letter, and the interpretation, of the law have been in evidence. There has been a tightening of the enforcement of existing rules. For example: If you did not file your taxes and use the correct forms to reconcile your earnings to your tax credits you cannot receive further tax subsidies until this is fixed. If you drop your coverage and do not pay your back insurance bills, you will need to pay up before you enroll. If the marketplace requests documents and you don’t provide them by the deadline, you will lose your insurance. Sad!

Most people know that the executive branch has cancelled the penalty for being uninsured. What many do not know is that the change does not become effective until 2019. If you’re not insured in 2018, you can expect the IRS to enforce the penalty.

And, as odious as many find the penalty, ending it sounds a death knell for the existing system. The insurers can’t make it work if only sick or older people sign up for insurance.

I’m no fan of insurance companies, but in this case I must concede- they have a point.

Currently, health insurance costs are high. If you don’t qualify for a subsidy, you are in for some real financial pain. I do not know how long people can bear the unbearable. Something’s gotta give.

As the situation advances toward critical mass (and possible meltdown), many solutions have been proposed- ranging from compassionate to sadistic; from ignorant to brilliant; from short-sighted to thoughtful.

Next month, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best ideas I have come across in my wide-ranging search for a way forward on this issue.

HAVE AN IDEA? HEARD SOMETHING THAT YOU THINK MIGHT WORK? I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR IT!

Send your freshest, boldest, smartest, and/or most transformational ideas about the healthcare system that you would like to see in the future to: scarney@ashlandinsurance.com, or post to my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/SueCarneyInsurance/

I hope to feature local comments in the June issue of LG, and would really love to start a constructive and creative discussion here in our community. See you ‘round town, SC.

PS Looking to save some bucks on your home & auto insurance? I may be able to help.

Call 541.608.1863 for a quote.