Obamacare Returns Amid Health Coverage 'Crisis'

An estimated 5M to 10M more Americans have lost coverage during the pandemic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2020 9:30 AM CDT
Americans Who Lost Health Coverage Can Sign Up Sunday
This image provided by US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service shows the website for HealthCare.gov.   (U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service via AP)

Millions of Americans who have lost health insurance in an economy shaken by the coronavirus can sign up for taxpayer-subsidized coverage starting Sunday, the AP reports. It's not a new COVID relief program from the government but the return of annual sign-up season under the Affordable Care Act, better known as "Obamacare." Open enrollment lasts through Dec. 15. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs HealthCare.gov, says premiums are down slightly on average for 2021 and most people will have at least three insurers from which to pick plans. Lower-income people and even middle-class families may qualify for tax credits that can greatly reduce what they pay monthly for premiums.

But President Trump, unrelenting in his opposition to President Obama's signature domestic program, is asking the Supreme Court to overturn the entire law. Trump has been promising a much better replacement since before taking office, but never came out with his plan. Hard numbers on how virus-related job losses have affected health coverage are not available because the most reliable government surveys will not be out until next year. Estimates range from 5 million to 10 million newly uninsured people. That's on top of 26 million uninsured last year, before the pandemic, or about 8% of the US population. "There is a coverage crisis happening," said Stan Dorn, a health policy expert now with Families USA, a liberal advocacy group.

(More health care stories.)

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