Early Friday morning, the Senate dealt a seemingly fatal blow to efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The 49-51 vote against a repeal left Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell resigned to accepting defeat on Republicans’ long-standing pledge to repeal the historic 2010 law that guarantees health coverage for millions of previously uninsured Americans.
“It’s time to move on,” he said, according to a CNN report. McConnell indicated the Senate would now take up a defense authorization bill.
The vote was a major defeat for President Donald Trump, who seemed to acknowledge in a Friday morning tweet that efforts to repeal Obamacare had come to a halt:
“3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down. As I said from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal. Watch!”
While it’s possible Congress could revive efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it’s probably wise to make your health care plans as if the law will remain in place, at least for the foreseeable future.
Cutting your health insurance costs
In 2017, health insurance premiums for popular ACA plans sold on the federal government’s HealthCare.gov site jumped by an average of about 25 percent, according to the federal government.
Some forecasters are predicting another double-digit jump from insurers this fall. Fortunately, federal subsidies created by Obamacare shield millions of Americans from these costs.
To qualify for these subsidies, you must meet certain income limits. According to the federal government:
If your estimated income falls between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level for your household size, you qualify for a premium tax credit.
You can go to the federal government’s HealthCare.gov website to see if you qualify.
If you are eligible, the first key to keeping costs down is to make sure you purchase a health insurance plan through a federal or state insurance exchange.
Coverage purchased directly from an insurer does not qualify for the federal subsidies that can dramatically reduce your out-of-pocket health care costs.
Unfortunately, those who do not qualify for a subsidy will bear the full cost of any premium increase. But such higher-income earners can still mitigate their health insurance costs somewhat by purchasing a high-deductible health plan.
These plans typically come with lower monthly premiums. Perhaps more importantly, enrolling in a high-deductible plan makes you eligible to contribute to a health savings account, more commonly known as an HSA.
Contributing to an HSA reduces your tax bill now, and can provide a pool of money to tap for health care costs in the future.
We have the skinny on high-deductible plans in our story “10 Tips to Maximize Your High-Deductible Health Plan.”
For more tips on cutting health care costs, check out:
- “15 Ways to Beat the High Cost of Medical Care”
- “2 Ways to Brace Your Budget for Rising Health Care Costs”
What do you think of the failed effort to repeal Obamacare? Sound off by commenting below or on our Facebook page.