Healthcare continues to see widespread changes initiated by President Trump and his administration; Obamacare continues to weaken, even though he hasn’t repealed or replaced it. In January of this year, the administration gave states the option of imposing work requirements on people who receive Medicaid; the goal is to cut off benefits for those who are able-bodied if they don’t have a job, they aren’t caregivers, or they do not attend school. In other words, this would mainly affect childless, single adults.

Keep in mind: Just about half of Medicaid recipients are children who are under the age of 18, and 10 percent of recipients are 65 or older. Of the remaining 40%, more than half already have jobs; those that don’t have jobs are either disabled (33%), are caregivers (30%), or are students (15%).

 An Influential Executive Order

In October of 2017, President Trump signed an executive order that brought about changes to healthcare beginning last month. Access to association health plans has been expanded, and so have the types of groups who are able to form associations. Health insurance providers are now able to sell policies across state lines, paving the way for increased competition and lower costs.

The executive order also eases restrictions on short-term health plans; under Obamacare, the policies last no longer than three months, but Trump has requested that they last up to a year. The order also requests the Labor Secretary to allow employers to use pretax dollars for health reimbursement arrangements, which would help employees pay for medical expenses. The executive order also commissions a study to find ways to limit consolidation within the hospital and insurance industries.

Insurance Premiums in 2018

Because Trump has stopped reimbursing insurers who waived copayments and deductibles for low-income customers, insurance companies are now stating they need to raise customers’ premiums – and it’s no small increase. The average amount that customers will pay this year for coverage will go up by 20 percent, and states have approved rate increases. Three states so far have approved an increase of 25%.

How You Could be Affected

If you are generally healthy, healthcare in 2018 could be more affordable for you. There will be no penalty under Trump’s tax reform plan, and you could purchase a short-term healthcare plan that costs less than before. However, if you are chronically ill, your healthcare costs might go up; national health care costs may increase at a faster rate than they did under Obamacare; the average increase has been around 5% each year.

If Obamacare is repealed in 2018, most people would see the cost of individual plans increase. However, if you own a small business, you own a medical devices company, or you are generally healthy, you might see an overall decrease in your costs. In general, Trump is working on keeping existing Medicare benefits, offering a universal market-based plan, requiring healthcare providers to post prices for services, and allow people to buy pharmaceuticals and drugs overseas.