Trump administration offers two more ways to escape Obamacare’s penalty
Americans now have two additional ways to get out of paying Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty.
The Trump administration announced Monday that those who live in counties with no insurer or with only one choice will be able to apply for a hardship exemption from the mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty.
Every county currently has at least one insurer on its exchange, but about 26% of Obamacare enrollees — living in slightly more than half of counties — have only one option, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Also, pro-life Americans who can only buy plans that cover abortion can receive an exemption.
The broadening of the exemptions won’t matter after this year since Congress eliminated the individual mandate penalty starting in 2019. Until now, hardship exemptions were typically granted to those who were homeless, facing eviction, had filed for bankruptcy or were in other difficult situations. People could also apply for income-related exemptions if the only plans in their areas were too costly or they earned too little to file a tax return.
The Trump administration also took another step Monday to put its stamp on the Affordable Care Act by releasing new rules for 2019.
Since Congress failed to repeal and replace the health reform law, administration officials can only adjust Obamacare’s regulations. Like its prior moves, the administration says the 2019 guidance focuses on lowering costs and increasing choices for consumers, states and insurers.