On November 1st, the open enrollment period for the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) begins. The 2018 open enrollment runs from November 1st to December 15th and is a crucial time to reach a critical number of under and uninsured individuals in order to get them covered. With enrollment during that period coverage would start on January 1, 2018. This years period is shorter than the 3-month period last year and has been reduced to 6 weeks.
According to reports, government cutbacks in the form of federal money for outreach efforts to gain new enrollees could cause a drop in enrollment as less people sign up for health insurance in Texas. Each year aid in the form funding is distributed to states in order to facilitate outreach to get people to sign up for insurance. President Donald Trump and his team have been attempting dismantle Obamacare and cut the federal budget for outreach from $100 million to $10 million. Reports have indicated that there are also cuts this year aimed at ACA healthcare navigators – the people who help enrollees sign up for a plan on the online federal marketplace. In Texas, the budget for that was cut by a third.
On the ground in communities throughout Texas, local outreach advocates usually call people with insurance plans through the ACA, otherwise called Obamacare, as well as provide information on signing up for those who are not covered, such as those who don’t receive insurance from an employer, or Medicaid and Medicare. If people are not aware on time, coverage could lapse for many and leave many others without insurance for significant healthcare needs. Outreach has been one of the most crucial aspects of getting major support and sign up from Americans without insurance. Now the high dollar advertising – like radio ads or TV ads – will no longer be broadcast by the federal government. The effect of lower enrollment could destabilize the insurance market – meaning costs will go up for people with an Obamacare plan. Texas has the highest number and the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, according to numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.