SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — President Donald Trump’s latest rollback of the Affordable Care Act will eliminate $7 billion in subsidy payments to insurers.
The subsidies were designed to keep costs down for low-income Americans. When KOLR10 went to find reaction in the Ozarks, the biggest response, was confusion. The announcement left a lot of questions unanswered, like who is really affected, and when subsidies will go away.
It might be Jerry Ross and his family.
“I think it’s going to lower our insurance costs as I understand it,” Ross said. “I mean, it’s going to make the insurance companies be more competitive. That’s capitalism, it’s how we built our country.”
It might also be employees at Brad Bradshaw’s law office.
“It might affect some people in my office, particularly people who are a little tighter on their budget,” he said. “I think we’re definitely going to see a rate hike next year, as some of these insurance companies are not going to get the subsidies they’ve seen before.”
Trevor Croley, the president of Croley Insurance and Financial, explains why.
“It will certainly affect some people, but it’s not going to implode the whole system,” he said.
Croley added that many of his panicked clients were actually concerned tax credits would be impacted, which cover more low-to-moderate income Americans. Tax credits are applied to insurance premiums, and are safe for now.
The subsidies, however, supplement deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, and affect fewer Americans, like those living at the lower end of the poverty spectrum.
“I think a lot of people would argue at the end of the day, I would rather have the tax credits to pay premiums, or lessen my burden to pay premiums, than worry about these subsidies,” Croley said.
The last piece of the puzzle, then, is figuring out when Trump’s executive order could take effect. The timeline is uncertain, but Croley says if it doesn’t happen before Jan. 1, it might not be any time soon.
“If it didn’t take effect prior to Jan. 1, I mean, I don’t see how they could do it in the middle of the year, because you can’t move someone’s deductible from $200 to $5,000 in the middle of the year,” he said.
One thing goes without question: Trump making good on his promise to roll back the ACA.
Croley said the announcement will likely be much clearer as we approach the open enrollment period, which starts on Nov. 1 and goes through Dec. 15.