ACA Executive Order Confusion
On inauguration day, our newly elected President made a strong statement by publicly signing an executive order regarding the Affordable Care Act. Since then, the media has scrambled to decode the meaning of that order, resulting in a stir of confusion for consumers evaluating their healthcare options just before the January 31st enrollment deadline. Many are wondering what impact, if any, this order has on their available choices this year and whether or not they should make decisions based on proposed healthcare law changes.
In short, the President’s order is a strong signal of intent that allows agencies to act only within “the maximum extent permitted by law.” Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation stated, “Many of the changes envisioned in this order will take time to implement, but it signals a clear direction.” While lawmakers will likely soon consider options for future changes to the law, the order in and of itself does not change the current law.
What does this mean for consumers looking at their healthcare options for this year? First, since the law has not yet changed, specific requirements, such as the individual mandate, have not changed. Not maintaining healthcare coverage for 2017 could still bring a penalty of up to $2,085 at tax filing time. The need to comply with the mandates of the ACA is certainly a point of frustration and stress for many individuals and families across the nation, but for now it is still law. Secondly, the healthcare options currently available for 2017 will not change. Any law changes will take significant time to develop and consumers should make their healthcare decisions based on what is currently available and consider future year options based on any upcoming healthcare law change proposals.
There are still options to consider.
While those hoping for lower premiums or more options this year might not find immediate relief, there are other options that both meet the Affordable Care Act individual mandate and provide a healthcare solution that is both affordable and God-honoring. Healthcare sharing ministries, like Medi-Share®, meet the requirements of the current law. Medi-Share members are exempt from the mandate to purchase insurance or face financial penalties. Unlike health insurance where you pay a premium to a company, Medi-Share is a community of Christians who share each other’s medical bills directly from member to member.
Medi-Share offers flexible options for everyone from individuals, couples, single parent families, and families of three or more. With seven levels of sharing, options are available to fit nearly any family size or budget at around half the cost of health insurance. Since 1993, Medi-Share members have joined together to share in more than $1.6 billion in medical bills. All members have access to one of the largest networks of providers in the country. Members also have 24/7 access to telehealth providers for non-emergency care at no cost to them, as well as discounted dental and vision services.