Insurance Law Under Trump May Also Carry Penalty
One of the least popular provisions of Obamacare has been the requirement to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. This "individual mandate" is one feature of the Affordable Care Act that Republicans have said they will repeal and replace the law. But according to some of the current proposals, the feature could still exist—in a slightly different form.
The tax penalty—in 2016, the greater of $695 per person or 2.5 percent of the household income—is what makes one of the most popular provisions of Obamacare possible. It’s designed to make sure healthy people buy medical insurance—not just those who have health issues. The penalty and provision together prohibit insurers from turning down people who have a preexisting medical condition.
President-elect Trump has said he would like to keep the ban on preexisting conditions—and this will require a mandate of some kind to entice healthy people to buy insurance. One option, proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, might be a one-time enrollment period in which people could sign-up for medical insurance regardless of their health, without being charged higher premiums. Those who did not enroll or maintain coverage could face higher premiums if they purchase health insurance at a later time. Another option might be similar to Medicare Part B and Part D—coverage for outpatient services and prescriptions. The health insurance story will continue in the months ahead.
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