MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s sign-up season for the Affordable Care Act, but the Trump administration isn’t making it easy by cutting the enrollment period in half, slashing advertising and dialing back on counselors who help consumers get through the process.
Sign-up begins Wednesday.
Jonathon Goldberg and his partner Michael Landers cannot wait to register. “The plan tomorrow is to get in here and get open enrollment,” said Goldeberg. “Shop and get the best deal possible.”
Michael is a 5-year cancer survivor who depends heavily on healthcare.
After leaving his job he signed up for Obamacare but let it lapse a few months back because of confusing talk from Washington.
“Obamacare is finished!” Trump exclaimed recently. “It’s dead, it’s gone. It’s no longer, you should no longer mention, it’s gone!”
Landers said after mixed messages, he thought he was supposed to find private insurance.
“I was told that it was going to be repealed,” he said. “And so I thought to myself why would I want to pay for something that was going to be repealed, when I work hard for the very little money I get.”
While Congress can’t agree on a new healthcare law, President Trump has made changes to the Affordable Care Act. He signed an executive order allowing companies to offer cheaper, less comprehensive plans and said the federal government would not pay 7 billion dollars in subsidies to insurers aimed at making coverage more affordable.
“There has been an incredible amount of misinformation and disinformation spread about the Affordable Care Act,” explained Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz from District 23.
She’s urging people to sign up for coverage when the marketplace opens Wednesday, saying despite the changes, it’s still the law of the land. “Subsidized health care policies are still available,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “Affordable choices are still available, completely just like they were before.”
Jonathan and Michael hope when they shop for coverage they won’t have a problem finding a plan that works for them and their budget.
“Ultimately I would like to see everybody have health insurance period,” said Michael.
Open enrollment starts Wednesday November 1st and ends December 15th in most states, a sign-up period six weeks shorter than last year’s. You can signup at HealthCare.gov.
If you need help with the process, CLICK HERE or call 1-800-318-2596.
Some 9 million to 10 million people currently have private plans through the ACA’s government-sponsored markets. More than 8 in 10 receive subsidized premiums, and are cushioned from rate increases. Federal help paying premiums is still available despite GOP efforts to repeal the health law.
Trump administration officials say they’re aiming for smooth and efficient sign-ups. HealthCare.gov has new features intended to make it more user-friendly and the call center is fully staffed.
Officials say they cut ads because spending so much money wasn’t warranted, and the scaled-back counseling programs weren’t enrolling many consumers.