Health Insurance HQ distills the current political activity around health care into a brief, monthly educational update to help you become a more active consumer and citizen. Our experts in the field and others in our community are here to provide you with plenty of handy resources to help you use your voice and your vote to make a difference.
Its a New Year and change is in the air. But what exactly does that mean?
With a new, very different administration just a few weeks away, many in our entertainment and performing arts community are worried about their insurance coverage and what this change will mean for the health care landscape. In a time of such uncertainty, you can count on my team at The Actors Fund's Artists Health Insurance Resource Center to keep you informed via social media and our monthly Workshops Groups and Seminars e-blast. Let's get down to it!
First, the good news: although the president-elect and Republican leaders have signaled that they would like to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is unlikely they will be able to repeal certain key aspects of it, such as the ban on denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions. I don't anticipate any changes to the system that will directly affect you in 2017. Republican leaders have indicated a full replacement is probably 2-3 years away.
Now, the not-so-good news: many of the changes that have been proposed may have serious consequences for your ability to access affordable, quality health insurance. For example, if the ACA is repealed, insurers would no longer be required to cover the 10 essential health benefits—such as hospitalization, maternity coverage, medications, and mental health services—and could impose annual dollar caps on your benefits. In addition, the ACA currently limits how much you have to pay per year for deductibles, co-insurance and copays, in the form of your "out-of-pocket maximum". The current maximum for an individual is $7,150. In the event of a repeal, there would no limit to the out of pocket costs to consumers. The organization Raising Women’s Voices has created a handy, one-page outline of what's at stake.
At this point, these changes are conjecture, since the new administration has yet to take office. It may be that opposition to these changes will prevent them from happening. I'll keep you updated on the most pertinent aspects of this issue, so tune in next month!
Yours in good health,
National Director of Health Services at The Actors Fund
P.S. Do you work in performing arts and entertainment and have questions about health insurance? We provide assistance nationally. Contact my team at our regional office closest to you to speak to a counselor.
New York City
Don’t forget to use the resources section of our website. It contains tools to help you make decisions about your health insurance, including new online tutorials on how to choose providers and how to read an Explanation of Benefits. In addition, you’ll find an updated Stage Managers National Health Directory, our national online directory of healthcare providers recommended by industry professionals that can be used by theatres and touring companies. For these resources and more, visit actorsfund.org/HealthServices. You can also find out more about enrollment assistance and upcoming health insurance seminars near you!