Just when you thought Obamacare’s Individual Mandate was stripped of its powers, the states have resuscitated it. The penalty remains $0 for individuals, on a federal level, but your state might adopt their own version! Read more below…
As of today, two states have signed legislation that requires its residents to have effective healthcare coverage (whatever the state deems “effective” to be), New Jersey and Massachusetts. Sound familiar? It should, it is the revival of the Individual Mandate, on the state level. Beginning January 1st, 2019, New Jersey residents will be subject to a state tax penalty if they forego healthcare coverage that meets their version of Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC).
And, what’s the deal with Massachusetts?
“A lot of the health insurance marketplaces today were showing growth, in part due to the mandate. It isn’t surprising they would adopt their own version to stay afloat, like Massachusetts” said Nicole Chernys, Manager at WellAway Limited, an international private medical insurance company. In February, twenty states sued the Federal Government. Their intent was to completely repeal Obamacare after the individual mandate’s penalty was reduced to 0. Due to the constitution, which states that congress has the right to levy taxes, they failed. The penalty is, after all, a tax.
This is an even fight, as half of the country is in support of the legislations. Two thirds of Massachusetts agree and support the Individual Mandate. President Trump has left the group mandate in effect, completely, as he believes in employers and groups responsibility to provide basic and affordable healthcare to its members and employees. Although he is clearly against most other facets of ACA (a.k.a. Obamacare).
Perhaps Massachusetts is most famous for the 2006 laws proposed and passed by Gov. Mitt Romney. A package that left Massachusetts “guaranteed issue” in place, meaning health plans would still need to accept all applicants. It added, however, to significant elements: A requirement that everyone purchase health insurance and subsidies to guarantee that coverage was affordable.
What does this mean in the long run?
Many states are looking to stabilize their insurance marketplaces. Consider that only twenty sued the Fed, therefore it leaves 31 undecided states, regarding these legislations. Without guaranteed participation by the healthier population, marketplaces risk having more high-cost beneficiaries in their pools, which will increase premiums and destabilize the markets.
Several states are considering implementing these mandates to cover the repeal of the federal level penalties. Bills have been proposed in Hawaii, Vermont, Washington and Maryland. Many of these are poised to pass and join the growing state-level-ACA club along with New Jersey and Massachusetts.
A massive market, Covered California, also held a board meeting to discuss implementing such legislations this February of 2018. Maryland and the District of Columbia are following suit.
In conclusion, along with Massachusetts and New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington are the next dominoes falling in the chain of state-imposed mandates.
Not only are the native and naturalized citizens affected, they may be more “in the know” regarding such matters due to the constant stream of news, but many expatriates taking up residence in the USA will be subject to a surprise if they reside here for a certain length of time. After such time has elapsed, they too will have to find effective healthcare to avoid penalties. If they come with a group or company, it is likely their respective employer already provides coverage and benefits that meet minimum essential coverage. And those who are thinking of doing away with their plans should think twice.
For expatriates, specifically, there are international private medical insurance companies who keep them compliant. WellAway Limited, for example, a global insurer based out of Bermuda, provides Accountable Care Act (Obamacare) compliant plans as well as more affordable and specialized plans that are not, for groups, individuals and families. They are particularly suited to keep the expatriates in the prevue compliant and covered as the politics change.
For more information on WellAway Limited’s health plans visit www.WellAway.com
By: Armando A. Diaz