Trudy Lieberman / Rural Health News Service
As annual enrollment for Obamacare insurance approaches on November 1, the law itself and the people who have come to depend on it for health coverage are both facing an uncertain future. President Trump’s recent executive actions affect the complicated insurance mechanics of the Affordable Care Act, and they haven’t been well explained in the news media. This column will explain how those changes affect you.
What should you expect now that the drive to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act appears dead – at least for the moment? Given how legislation gets made in Washington, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some elements of the repeal and replace bill surface again, possibly tacked onto what’s known as must-have legislation.
Lori Eng, a 62-yearold office manager who works in western Nebraska, sent an email not long ago telling me she was “terrified” she might lose her Obamacare health insurance. The many horror stories passed along in the media had frightened her, and she wanted me to hear from someone who had benefitted from the law.
Judy Norblade, a retired marketing director, and her husband, Paul, a retired teacher, thought they had all their financial bases covered. They had Medicare, good supplemental coverage from a Medigap policy, a drug plan that paid for most of their prescriptions and long-term-care insurance for a nursing home they hoped they would never need. "I thought we were pretty well set for healthcare in our retirement years," she said.
Not many of us think about needing air ambulances. We don’t dwell on that possibility, but for people hurt in car accidents or who live in smaller or rural communities without medical care at hand, being airlifted to a hospital can mean the difference between life and death.
Some alarming health news came a few months ago. “Diabetes nation? Half of Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes,” a Los Angeles Times headline screamed. WebMD weighed in with “Diabetes a Concern for Half of Americans.” NBC News an-nounced “Half of Americans Have Diabetes or High Blood Sugar.”
Early in December David, a reader who lives in the foothills west of Denver, sent me an email. “It’s scary when you go into any healthcare facility and don’t know whether to bring your check book, loan application papers, or bankruptcy processing papers,” he said. “Nobody seems to care or be concerned about it.” He wanted to know why we aren’t told all costs up front so we can make informed decisions.