What You Should Do Today If You Have Obamacare
Make sure you have health insurance through 2017
This article originally appeared on Money.com.
As Republicans move to eliminate Obamacare, you might be worried about the future of your health insurance plan—and rightfully so.
Here’s what’s happening: Republicans are meeting to try to figure out how to speedily repeal major parts of Obamacare through an obscure process called budget reconciliation. The reality is that it’s very likely that major portions of Obamacare—like premium tax credits and the individual and employer mandate—could be axed in the near future.
What’s more, getting rid of the health care law in its entirety might not be all that difficult. As MONEY’s Alicia Adamczyk noted in the aftermath of the presidential election, a clause in the contract between insurers and the government would allow insurers to discontinue their policies if subsidies were to end.
In order to keep insurers on board with a government-run health care plan, “it’s going to take more than ‘stay tuned’ if they repeal without a replacement plan,” said Tim Jost, a health care law expert at Washington and Lee University.
Unfortunately, if you depend on Obamacare for health insurance, there’s not much you can do except sit tight and keep your current plan as long as you can. If you haven’t signed up for Obamacare via open enrollment and would like to, the deadline for 2017 coverage is Jan. 31 and you can sign up at Healthcare.gov.
“People should sign up and continue to be covered as long as the Republicans let them,” Jost said. “People should think about if there’s anything I can get now, that might not last past repeal.”
One such policy that has people worried is birth control. Under Obamacare, it falls under preventative care, which must be provided to you for free. MONEY has previously reported that it’s not likely that this policy could be axed through budget reconciliation.
However, a full repeal could leave women without coverage for gender-specific services like birth control and breast pumps. Even worse, insurers could charge women more than men for insurance, as was the practice before the ACA was passed.
The bright side for worried Obamacare subscribers is that repealing Obamacare would be disastrous for Republicans if they aren’t able to present an alternative plan. Without a replacement plan, more than 20 million people with diseases like cancer or diabetes would be left without health insurance—a political catastrophe for the GOP.
“Responsible Republicans will do everything they can to make sure people are covered,” Jost said. “There will be a high political price to pay if people aren’t covered through 2018.”