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Ohio Requests Individual ACA Mandate

Ohio Requests Individual ACA Mandate

Ohio is the first state to seek a waiver for the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

Ohio officials asked the Administration on Friday to formally waive the ACA individual mandate that requires residents to have health insurance, making it the first state to make such a waiver request.
Ohio’s Legislature called for the 1332 waiver last summer, and Congress zeroed out the financial penalty for not having coverage in its tax bill in December.

This (tax) legislation zeroed out the penalty that is associated with the individual mandate … but … did not eliminate the mandate itself. Even though Congress repealed the penalty for not having insurance late last year, the requirement that all Americans have health coverage is still in effect, the state’s insurance director commented.

One senior policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that Ohio consumers may not be aware that the federal tax bill eliminated the mandate’s financial penalty, but some healthy people may leave the individual market due to the waiver request, leaving only the sickest consumers with coverage and forcing insurers to raise premiums.

In its application to HHS, Ohio actuaries predicted individual market enrollment will fall from 307,000 people this year to 248,000 enrollees in 2022, and average monthly premiums will increase from $493 to $600 in the same time frame.

State officials and the director of state health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation, attribute the projected enrollment drop in Ohio’s application to the elimination of the tax penalty versus the waiver request itself.
Approval of the waiver has the potential to reduce health insurance premiums for residents.

Source: Health Reform News – 4-5-18

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