During the course of President Trump’s first year in office, the national healthcare policy was debated and defeated multiple times. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was constantly under scrutiny, with efforts to repeal and replace the act a hot topic for Congress and the President.
Although the ACA was not truly repealed nor replaced during 2017, one tax bill did finally pass that eliminated the individual mandate for health insurance that was an integral part of the ACA. That piece of legislation will not take effect until 2019 and could significantly increase the growing number of people who are uninsured in the US.
Notable healthcare changes during Trump’s first year in office include:
Healthcare premiums increased. The average total premium increased by $255 for individuals and over $600 for families. The average amount an employee pays for healthcare coverage also increased in 2017, by just under $100 for individuals and over $400 for families.
Number of uninsured individuals increased. Gallup says that the share of adults without health insurance coverage rose faster in 2017 than in any year since 2008. Approximately 3.2 million more people were uninsured at the end of 2017 compared with a year earlier.
Insurers pulled out of the exchange market. With the uncertainty of the repeal and replace debates, votes, and defeats, many insurers chose to no longer participate in the exchange. That, in turn, caused additional rate increases and may have also contributed to the number of individuals who chose to terminate their healthcare coverage.
Teen drinking and smoking decreased, while illicit drug use increased. The number of teenagers who drink and/or smoke has actually been decreasing for several years. However, the number of teenagers who use illicit drugs, including marijuana, increased slightly in 2017.
Trump’s first year in office also saw the number of Medicaid enrollees decrease. That number may continue to shift as new legislation impacts the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Elation Health will continue to monitor healthcare legislation and report any changes that may affect independent physicians and their ability to be successful in their practices.