Catherine Cantway: Don’t forget about health care in this election |

Catherine Cantway: Don’t forget about health care in this election

When it comes to health care in this year’s election, health care cost is at the top of most people’s minds, and rightly so.

When the Affordable Care Act was created, the idea behind this policy was to provide health insurance to more of the population and encourage healthy individuals to purchase insurance. With more people participating in the collective health insurance pool, including very healthy individuals whose utilization and thus cost of healthcare is low, health insurance costs would decrease.

Recent changes to the Affordable Care Act are counteracting this model. Now that the individual mandate penalty for individuals not having health insurance has decreased to $0 for 2019, and the Trump administration has announced new rules regarding short-term, limited duration plans and association health plans, which operate outside of the ACA health insurance marketplace, there is more incentive for individuals to look at these options, which may provide more affordable health insurance coverage. If individuals do turn to these alternative options for health insurance, the ACA pool of insured individuals decreases and prices increase.

It is now estimated that benchmark silver plan premiums available on the ACA health exchange will be about 16 percent higher than they would have been had the individual mandate not been changed and had the rules and regulations regarding short-term limited duration plans and association health plans not been loosened.

To put this into real numbers, the 2019 benchmark silver premiums on average $495. Had the Trump administration not made changes to the ACA, the cost would have been $427 on average.

Coverage of pre-existing conditions has recently become the center of the health care debate in this election. But Coloradans haven’t forgotten about the rising costs of health care. About half of Colorado voters say it has become more difficult for them to afford health insurance.

Health insurance and health care costs can be lowered, we just need the right people in leadership positions to make this actually happen, so don’t forget to review the candidate’s stance on health care and health insurance costs before you cast your vote. You might notice a significant difference in how the candidates address this issue.

Catherine Cantway, MD

Steamboat Springs

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