Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 18.
Consumers should not delay buying health insurance, because they believe the current premiums could be lowered or are wary of any potential changes the new Trump administration will make to the Affordable Care Act.
Any changes to remedy or even repeal Obamacare would be complicated and would likely take months or years before Congress could agree on a new plan.
"The reality is the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land and any changes will take time," said Sam Gibbs, executive director of AgileHealthInsurance.com, a Mountain View, Calif.-based short-term health insurance marketplace provider. "People should not put off enrolling in coverage and risk going uninsured, which could be financially devastating for themselves and their family."
While consumers might be confused, they need to continue shopping for a plan that fits their health needs, whether they are seeking additional doctor's visits with a cheaper co-pay or inexpensive prescription drugs. People must buy a plan by December 15 in order for coverage to start on January 1.
Open enrollment ends Jan. 31 and anyone who has not purchased a plan by then might be left without health insurance coverage until the next period starts in the fall.
"Now is the time to lock in a 2017 health plan," said Nate Purpura, vice president of consumer affairs at eHealth, an online health insurance exchange based in Mountain View, Calif. "You can always drop your plan later if you need to, but you may not have another chance to sign up for 2017 health plans on a guaranteed basis."