This post originally appeared on Feeding America’s Hunger Blog.
On the cusp of a new Administration, communities have both questions and concerns related to the future of the Affordable Care Act. With 66 percent of households served by the Feeding America network making tradeoffs between paying for food and medical care, Feeding America and Enroll America have partnered to ensure clear messaging and assistance tools around health care coverage enrollment are being distributed throughout the nationwide network of food banks.
At Enroll America, we’ve assessed the landscape and noticed inconsistencies about what to expect this year. Based on inquiries from consumers and worries from those trained to assist enrollees, we’ve put together a set of myths to help the public sift through the clutter and find answers to difficult questions. While there is still a lot of uncertainty, here is what we know for sure.
MYTH 1: It is not worth it to sign up for coverage via the Marketplace.
The Facts: Consumers still need coverage for 2017. On Nov. 9, the day after the election, 100,000 people enrolled in coverage through HealthCare.gov, according to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. It is not likely that changes to the law will have an effective date in 2017, as Congress will need time to implement its replacement plan.
MYTH 2: Financial help will no longer be available.
The Facts: Any changes in financial help are not likely to take effect in 2017. The plan designs for 2017 are already locked in.
MYTH 3: Medicaid expansion is becoming a thing of the past.
The Facts: Medicaid enrollment nationwide has increased by 15.7 million people since the end of 2013, largely as a result of Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Although the future of Medicaid financing and expansion is part of the current debate, much like the marketplace, any changes are unlikely to take effect this year. And the option to expand remains on the table for interested states.
MYTH 4: The ACA will change overnight.
The Facts: No, it will not. The ACA has been in effect for nearly seven years, and the majority of its coverage related provisions have been in force for at least three years. The enrollment community has worked tirelessly to make the ACA a way of life in this country, and any changes to it, whether to make improvements or erode protections, take time to work their way through the process. The enrollment community will continue to work to cut through the political noise and ensure consumers have the facts they need to make coverage decisions for themselves and their families.
There’s still time to enroll. Check out Get Covered America’s comprehensive collection of digital tools available to your organization to help maximize the open enrollment period now through Jan. 31. Click here to learn more.