Most of the attention to the Affordable Care Act this year focused on several unsuccessful efforts by Senate Republicans to repeal the act. When the September 30th deadline passed, repeal attempts for next year's program were no longer possible.
But there are several other steps which must be taken yet this year. Brian Huinker from Decorah's Group Benefit Partners says the most important step is to be ready when the period opens when you can buy health insurance for next year through what is now being called "The Iowa Stopgap Measure." This year there will be only a 45-day period, running from November 1st through December 15th, to purchase ACA insurance. Huinker says that sign-up period comes at a time of year when local insurance agents are already busy working on renewals of group health insurance plans.
Next year's plan calls for a $7,350 per person deductible for an individual and a $14,700 deductible for a family, but the maximums are adjusted because of income. People earning less than 400 percent of the federal poverty standards can get tax incentives to help pay the costs of health insurance under the ACA. That will require some attention to how much income to generate in 2017, Huinker says.
The Iowa Stopgap Measure still must win federal approval. Huinker says there's a lot of uncertainty involving next year's ACA health insurance plans, but the one thing that is certain is that it's a good time now to schedule an appointment with whomever your insurance agent is,since they will be very busy in November and the first part of December.