I try to be pretty pragmatic when it comes to presidential elections. Regardless of the promises made by any candidate, we rarely see any real change in the U.S. with the election of a new president. However, Donald Trump ran on a platform to repeal and replace Obamacare. Since 90% of my income comes from enrollment generated by the Affordable Care Act, I am facing a drastic reduction of my income if Trump fulfills his promise. Thanks Donald for crashing my income. Happy New Years to you too.
Will Trump Repeal Obamacare And Crash My Income?
I’m a health insurance agent. My income is derived from the commissions I am paid by the health insurance companies and health plans for enrolling individuals and families in their plans. The over whelming majority of my clients need the Obamacare monthly tax subsidies to afford health insurance. Without the assistance, most if not all, would drop their health insurance and I would stop being paid.
First the first time in my life I am experiencing the anxiety that cowboys and coal miners have expressed about losing their livelihood because of government actions. Donald Trump, while campaigning for the presidency promised to abolish Obamacare. The Republican controlled congress seems all too eager to assist Trump with repealing the ACA. As of the end of 2016, no legislation has been proposed that would allow most of my clients to afford health insurance.
I am not looking for sympathy for my potential plummeting of income. Insurance agents are not always held in the highest esteem by the public. Even though commissions have been sharply reduced in the last couple years for health insurance enrollments, I decided to stick with representing Obamacare individual and family plans.
Health insurance is complicated. The rules surrounding enrollment through Covered California and the tax credit subsidies can be perplexing. I’ve derive a lot of satisfaction from assisting individuals and families with accumulating the necessary information to make the best consumer decision. I think most agents offering a similar level of consumer service as I do for navigating the ACA and health insurance have been under compensated. But that is an argument and discussion for another day.
I like what I do. I think I am good at it. I think I am providing a valuable service to consumers. I want to keep my job.
Many Health Insurance Agents Will Be Hurt if ACA is Repealed
As I write this at the end of 2016 I have to wrestle with the reality my income could begin to erode during 2017 and completely collapse by year’s end. For starters, The Trump administration could decide not to continue appealing a court ruling that found the reduced cost sharing payments from the federal government to health plans are illegal. In other words, the reduced deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments of the Enhanced Silver Plans could suddenly stop in the middle of 2017. This could lead many people to drop health insurance because accessing services will simply be too expensive.
If the ACA and the mechanisms for the monthly premiums assistance tax credit are scrapped for 2018, I predict health insurance exchanges like Covered California will implode. Most families enrolled through the exchange just can’t afford health insurance without the Advance Premium Tax Credits. Without my clients enrolled in health insurance I lose my income. If I lose my income my modest life style will be severely impacted.
Many people have told me not to worry because they don’t think Trump will scrap Obamacare. But why did people vote for him, including many who told me not to worry, if they didn’t think he would carry through with his promise? Did people vote for him knowing he would renege on his promises? I don’t think so.
If you have been told the future, you are a fool not to prepare for it. No corporate CEO would ignore the promise of a president. That CEO may hedge their bet. Create a contingency plan. Look for alternate marketing or sales opportunities. But no CEO worth the millions he or she is paid would ignore a presidential promise to shut off one of their revenue streams.
I’m not a corporate CEO. I’m not as smart as a corporate CEO. But I’m not dumb either. I must take President-elect Trump at his word. When he says he will repeal Obamacare, which by extension means erasing most of my income, I have to believe he will do it. I have to assume that my current business model will crash.
I’m nervous about my future. Just as I finally recovered from the Great Recession, I have to prepare for another economic catastrophe. Walmart always seems to survive through the good and bad times. Maybe I can get hired as a greeter.