Despite the Trump administration’s best efforts, Obamacare is still the law of the land, still helping millions of people. Open enrollment for plans under the Affordable Care Act starts Nov. 1 and, as it did last year, the most common plan is going to cost less.
Premiums for benchmark “silver” plans will be about 4% cheaper for the new plan year for a typical 27-year-old individual or for a family of four. The rates are decreasing in part because of “a significant improvement in the number of insurance companies selling ACA health plans.” Now just 12% of ACA customers will live in a place with only one insurer, and more than two-thirds of customers will have at least three companies to choose from. In 2018, almost 30% of customers had no choice. The competition is lowering the costs of these plans.
Even Trumpists in the administration are having a hard time spinning this against the hated Obamacare, so they spin against President Obama. “The president who was supposedly trying to sabotage the law has been better at running it than the guy who wrote the law,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
He should be a bit more circumspect. He might remember back to the last open enrollment period, when an extremist judge in Texas declared the law unconstitutional right after the midterm elections and just before open enrollment ended, maximizing political advantage—avoiding implications for Republicans running for reelection, but still sabotaging the law. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, just as extreme, is equally likely to time its ruling on the appeal to sabotage open enrollment.
As always, if you or someone you know needs insurance and is eligible for the ACA, now is a good time to start doing the research. Here’s one source that can get you started.