By Len Sorrin, Premera Congressional and Legislative Affairs
Len Sorrin leads Premera's Congressional and Legislative Affairs team, which centers on the rapidly changing activities in Washington, D.C. to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Watch Len speak more about the future of healthcare.
The ongoing national debate over the Affordable Care Act (ACA) leaves many people who do not have insurance through their employer wondering about the future of their individual health care coverage.
I understand their concern. It seems like every day another insurance carrier announces its plans to stop selling individual health coverage. Elected officials continue to propose changes that could affect coverage for millions of people.
The ACA is no exception to the rule that something big and complicated can be imperfect. But there's no arguing with certain facts three years after the ACA launched. More than 20 million people nationwide now have health insurance thanks to provisions in the ACA. That includes more than 800,000 people in Washington and Alaska.
I hear from Premera customers, as well as friends and family, almost every day. They're wondering:
- Can they still see their doctor?
- Can their children still receive coverage on their plan?
- Are their premiums going to go up?
My answer: nothing changes for now. Your Premera coverage is still in place and should remain unchanged through the end of this year.
Premera believes people should have access to more affordable coverage and healthcare. We believe in the strength of the private insurance market to serve the needs of millions of Americans. But we also believe government has an essential role to play, by subsidizing commercial insurance for those who cannot afford it and by amply funding Medicaid.
At Premera, we are committed to providing individual coverage in a stable and predictable market. That's why it's important that Congress and the federal government work to provide stability to the individual market by ensuring young healthy people have strong incentives to buy insurance and to remain insured, while working to make coverage more affordable.
Finally, we are working with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a collection of 36 different Blue Cross Blue Shield plans across America, as well as state and federal lawmakers to advocate on behalf of our customers.
Whenever I have an opportunity to meet with lawmakers, I share with them one common refrain from our customers. Regardless of who they voted for in the last election, they want:
- a broad range of choices
- a stable market they know they can count on for many years to come, and
- access to affordable health care
I expect the debate over the future of healthcare to continue through the weeks and months ahead. We will do our best to keep you up to date on any major new developments. In the meantime, we will continue to advocate on behalf of our customers that any alternative solution gives people affordable access to health care.