President Donald Trump likes to brag that he and Republicans eliminated the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act when they passed their tax cuts last year, but the reality is that an eventual 13 million Americans will be uninsured, according to the Los Angeles Times.
When the the tax penalty disappears in 2019, the Congressional Budget Office estimates about 4 million people will either drop their health insurance coverage or opt not to sign up in the first place; that number could reach 13 million by 2027.
Dana Farrell’s car insurance is due. So is her homeowner’s insurance — plus her property taxes. It’s also time to re-up her health coverage. But that’s where Farrell, a 54-year-old former social worker, is drawing the line.
“I’ve been retired two years and my savings is gone. I’m at my wit’s end,” said the Murrieta resident. So Farrell plans — reluctantly — to drop her health coverage next year because the Affordable Care Act tax penalty for not having insurance is going away.
Farrell is far from the only American facing such a choice: as premiums continue rising and the penalty falls away, more and more people will opt to go without insurance.
Instead, she plans to pay cash for her doctor visits at about $80 a pop, and for any medications she might use — all the while praying that she doesn’t get into a car accident or have a medical emergency.
“It’s a situation that a lot of people find themselves in,” said Miranda Dietz, lead author of a new study that projects how ending the penalty will affect California.
Covered California, the state health insurance exchange, predicts that enrollment in the individual market — both on and off the exchange — could drop by 12% next year, said agency spokesman James Scullary.
Exchange officials also blame the end of the penalty for 3.5% out of a total 8.7% average increase in premiums, because the departure of some healthy people from the market will lead to a sicker and costlier insurance pool.
Farrell said this is the first time in her life she will be going without health insurance, and the prospect makes her nervous.
This year, Farrell got a clean bill of health from her doctor after a round of tests. She’s nervous about being without coverage next year, but feels she doesn’t have a choice.