Web Briefing for Journalists: Marketplace Open Enrollment in the Trump Era

With the Trump administration’s announcements last week, the landscape around Affordable Care Act marketplaces and the open enrollment period beginning Nov. 1 continues to shift.

Though the 2010 health law remains intact for now, consumers will see fundamental differences this year when it comes to signing up for 2018 marketplace plans. Premiums are increasing significantly in some states, though not all consumers will feel the impact.

The enrollment period is shorter. Healthcare.gov will experience regular planned outages. And understanding plans and their true costs could be more challenging, due to steps insurers and regulators took to mitigate political uncertainty about the ACA. Additionally, fewer navigators will be available to help consumers with their questions, following deep funding cuts from the federal government.

On October 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm ET, the Kaiser Family Foundation held a media-only web briefing to examine key issues affecting this year’s open enrollment period and answer audience questions, including:

  • What are implications of a shortened open enrollment period? (This year, open enrollment runs from Nov. 1-Dec. 15, a period half as long as last year.)
  • What are trends in premium changes for 2018, and how does this compare to prior years?
  • Who is subject to premium increases, and which plans do the increases apply to?
  • Who is eligible for financial assistance, and how does this assistance affect affordability of coverage?
  • What can consumers expect when it comes to choice of insurers in marketplaces?
  • When and how can consumers renew their coverage or shop for a new plan?
  • Where can consumers get help signing up for coverage, and how does this differ from prior years?
  • What is the penalty for not having health insurance in 2018, and who is exempt?
  • What is the potential impact on marketplace premiums of President Trump’s decision to end cost-sharing subsidy payments to insurers?
  • How have other actions by the Trump administration affected marketplaces, and what is the outlook going forward?

Panelists: Larry Levitt, senior vice president for special initiatives and co-executive director of the Foundation’s Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance; Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Foundation; and Jennifer Tolbert, director of state health reform and associate director of the Foundation’s Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured.

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