An insider is reporting that the Obama administration is now looking to take away access to health insurance for the millions of Americans who have lost their insurance under Obamacare, a move that could make it more difficult for millions to get insurance in the future.
The Insider reported that HHS has asked the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to consider withholding some federal benefits from certain individuals who are not eligible for Medicaid under the health care law, including those who were not covered under their insurance until last year.
According to the Insider, OPM has the authority to withhold benefits such as income-based medical assistance, the Medicaid expansion, and the health savings account.
The move is likely to complicate the health insurance market, which is already reeling from the loss of millions of people’s coverage. Obamacare has become a source of great anxiety for millions of working Americans, many of whom were previously able to purchase their own insurance through the federal marketplace.
The uncertainty of whether or not Americans will be able to buy their own coverage is leading to a rise in premium prices, as many people find themselves without the health plan they are currently signing up for.
According to an Insider analysis of federal data from the OPM, the average premiums for 2017 were $2,621, up from $2.8 million in 2016.
For some of these individuals, it could be months before they can get coverage.
The cost of coverage can be particularly problematic for young adults and young families, who have to pay premiums on top of the federal government subsidy for the plan they currently have.
OPM has also asked the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to begin providing some type of subsidy to individuals in the individual market to offset the cost of premiums, but has not yet made a decision.
HHS has also sought to delay the implementation of the health law’s new requirements on insurers offering health insurance, such as mandating that all plans sold in the marketplace have to cover all services, including maternity care, prescription drugs, and preventive care.
The policy would likely make it difficult for many people to find affordable insurance coverage in the near future.