Despite the Affordable Care Act’s major improvements to the country’s health insurance system, health care costs remain unaffordable for many families. Much attention has focused on the problems of people with incomes too high for federal financial assistance, but comparable or greater problems affect low-wage workers and moderate-income families.
Maryland's Down Payment Plan: Helping People Get Health Insurance and Lowering Families' Health Costs
Both before and especially after President Trump and his congressional allies ended federal enforcement of the ACA’s individual mandate, several states established their own enforcement systems. Maryland’s lawmakers are proposing an innovative “down payment plan” that uses a more enrollment-oriented approach to requiring people with affordable access to health coverage to obtain insurance. Instead of imposing tax penalties on the uninsured, the Maryland proposal helps the uninsured enroll into coverage whenever possible.
Due to changes made through recent federal rules issued by the Trump administration, small businesses and self-employed business owners can buy health plans through associations that are exempt from many state and federal regulations. These new rules leave consumers without important protections. For example, Association Health Plans (AHPs) don’t have to cover all of the benefits that other plans sold to individual and small businesses must cover.