President Trump's health care changes' impact on Wisconsin

Posted at 6:50 PM, Oct 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-12 20:09:25-04

After months of frustration, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at changing mandates in federal health care. 

Trump said the changes will increase choices for buying health insurance and allow associations to band together to buy policies across state lines. Democrats argue the proposed changes will weaken protections for pre-existing conditions. 

More than 38,000 Milwaukee County residents are enrolled in Obamacare. Those who help them pick their plans said to be ready to shop around and expect premiums to spike. 

Caroline Gomez-Tom with the Milwaukee Enrollment Network says their organization is staying the course and gearing up for another healthcare exchange enrollment period. When asked if she believes this is the beginning of the unraveling of the Affordable Care Act, she said, “I wouldn’t say that, definitely a new component that maybe we weren’t expecting.” 

One thing that isn’t expected to change is increasing premiums. Milwaukee County residents insured through Obamacare saw an average of a 15 percent jump this year. Now, Wisconsin health officials say average premiums could go up another 36 percent in 2018. 

“And we do anticipate them going up again,” Gomez-Tom said. 

Gomez-Tom said that’s because several insurers are expected to leave the marketplace, coupled with Trump’s executive order allowing people who don’t qualify for financial assistance in the marketplace to purchase elsewhere. 
“That essentially lowers the number of people in that marketplace of risk pool and with that it could increase the price for people that actually use the marketplace and benefit from that financial assistance,” Gomez-Tom said. 

Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins Nov. 1. Dial 2-1-1 for help finding someone to walk you through the process.