Eliminating ACA Mandate May Cause Spike In Health Insurance Costs

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The tax overhaul bill in Washington appears to have enough votes to be approved today. The Senate Tax plan includes repealing the Affordable Care Act mandate that everyone must purchase health insurance or pay a fine.  Some experts say this would lead to huge price increases for ACA insurance plans.

Katie Fallon with Policy Matters Ohio said repealing the individual mandate would severely destabilize the ACA health insurance marketplace in Ohio.

“By requiring everybody to pay into that system you’re making it a more robust system. When you take that away you’re gonna have many fewer people involved in the system so their costs are going to rise,” Fallon said.

A researcher for the Columbus–based think tank, Fallon said those rising costs may cause many healthy people, young people, and low income Ohioans to go without insurance. With only older and sicker people left, Fallon said premiums will likely skyrocket.

She added, insurance companies were already dealing with a lot of uncertainty from Washington and experts are predicting some companies may drop out of the marketplace if  Congress takes out the individual mandate.

“This year we managed to have health insurers in every county so there were no bare counties,” Fallon said. “However, insurance companies are really struggling to stay in counties to give people the benefits that they need.”

If the Senate passes its tax bill, it must still be reconciled with the House tax bill in conference commiteee. 

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