Insurer On National Health Insurance Exchange: Marketplace Is Safe In 2017

Throughout his Presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, a partial repeal could increase the number of uninsured Americans to 18 million. They say a full repeal could increase that number to 32 million within 10 years.

Now that Trump has been officially sworn in as President, many who have insurance through the National Health Insurance Exchange are wondering how that could affect them in 2017.

Those who don’t have insurance yet this year have a more than a week to enroll in the exchange for coverage that would begin on March 1. While the newly elected President says he will repeal the current marketplace, one insurer says those looking to purchase a plan shouldn’t let his inauguration hold them back.

Sanford Health Plan Executive Vice President Kirk Zimmer said, “From that perspective, a consumer with those policies, I don’t think, needs to be concerned at this time.”

Sanford Health Plan is one of two insurers in South Dakota participating in the exchange this year. Zimmer says people can feel confident that whatever happens on Capitol Hill, won’t affect anyone with insurance in 2017.

Zimmer said, “Individuals that are enrolled for coverage for 2017, have already had coverage for 17 days, so nothing is going to happen to their coverage going forward, there isn’t going to be an cancellations or any modifications in coverage in 2017.”

Zimmer says insurers are already putting together policies -benefits and rates- for 2018. They will be seeking approval of those plans from the government in the next couple weeks.

“While the President has stated his intent to speed up that process as (soon as) possible, but there are others in Republican leadership that want to take their time and make sure that a replacement bill is put in place,” said Zimmer.

Zimmer says any changes that are made can’t be made overnight.

“It’s possible at least that you won’t have any changes to the ACA, insurance related, for up to 24 months,” Zimmer said.

No details have been released about what could potentially replace the Affordable Care Act. However, Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Nominee Tom Price assured a Senate Committee on Wednesday that millions of Americans will not find themselves without insurance.

Around 25,000 South Dakotans enrolled in the exchange last year.

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