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What You Should Know About the Ruling on the Affordable Care Act

Federal District Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas invalidated the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) on Friday.

Millions who can’t afford health insurance premiums, and those who have pre-existing conditions (including pregnancy), children under the age of 26 who are covered by their parents’ insurance, are disabled, elderly, and low income could be affected.

The Act also increased funding for Native American health care, protections to lactating mothers, generic drugs, and Medicare; and expanded to allow 10 million more people to get coverage.

Republicans provided information that resulted in the judge deciding the ACA was unconstitutional because the tax penalty was removed.

The individual mandate “can no longer be sustained as an exercise of Congress’s tax power,” said Judge O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee.

The efforts to dismantle the Obama initiative included Congress eliminating the tax penalty that motivated many to sign up for coverage and Trump cutting the advertising budget to market the Affordable Care Act.

Of the 39 participating states, ironically, Texas has the highest uninsured rates in the country (17.1 percent). It is followed by Alaska (14.9 percent) and Georgia (13.9 percent ), according to the latest Census Bureau data.

What does all this mean for those who enroll
The ruling doesn’t mean ACA is over. The repeal still has to go through the Supreme Court and some states, like California are already planning to appeal. The estimated 4.1 million people who signed up for plans on Healthcare.gov will be insured for 2019.
How does this impact enrollment deadlines

The repeal happened the night before open enrollment for 39 states ended, but it didn’t affect open enrollment. If anything, it caused some states to extend the deadline. In Connecticut, the original deadline had been Saturday at midnight, but that was abruptly extended until Jan. 15 because of the surprise ruling in Texas.

“We will not let this news get in the way of fulfilling our mission to reduce the rate of the uninsured and help Connecticut residents get health insurance coverage for them and their families,” said James Michel, chief executive officer of Access Health CT.

Residents of New York, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia can sign up for an ACA health-care plan until Dec. 31. The open enrollment deadline in Colorado is on Jan. 12, and the deadline in Minnesota is a day later. California‘s last day is Jan. 15. Massachusetts‘ enrollment period ends on Jan. 23.

Alaskans living in Southcentral affected by the Nov. 30 earthquake have until Jan. 29, 2019 to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

And 11 states and the District of Columbia operate their own marketplaces and many have extended deadlines into January. The states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

What other options for health insurance exist past the deadlines

For special enrollment periods due to life changes or losing other coverage, click here. For Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which both have rolling enrollment, click here.

Short-term plans, supplemental plans, fixed indemnity plans, critical illness plans, accident supplements, etc. are not regulated by the Affordable Care Act, and allow year-round enrollment.If your coverage was denied, you can appeal.

Reader Question: Do you think repealing the Affordable Health Care Act is the right move

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