Health care marketplaces are open, but GOP cuts to shopping window, outreach budget make it harder to buy insurance

Indiana to suffer most under Trump Administration’s cuts to funding for health care navigators

INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers today can sign up for health insurance on the individual exchanges, but more than ever before, they’ll need to figure it out themselves, and do it quickly. In its attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act, the Trump Administration slashed funding for outreach and marketing, while limiting the enrollment period to 45 days.

The effects of halving the enrollment window and cutting the budget will have far-reaching effects on those searching for quality, affordable health care. Funding for advertising has plummeted 92% under the Trump Administration. And even more crucially, funding for navigators, workers who help consumers choose and apply for coverage during the window, has been cut by 40%.

Indiana will feel the results of the cuts to navigators more than any other state, the Washington Post reported, after its anticipated funding was cut more than 82%. The largest group in Indiana dedicated to helping Hoosiers find insurance laid off nine of its 13 staffers after its grant funding was cut by four-fifths. While the program has served the entire state in the past, it now will only be able to serve Indianapolis and two of the surrounding counties – once again showing that Republicans in Indianapolis and Washington are ignoring rural Hoosiers.

Elizabeth Hagan, head of consumer health care advocate Families USA, has called the steps “just one more example of the administration undermining” the ACA. She went on to predict that the cuts and shorter enrollment window will have “a profound effect on enrollment.”

The cuts to the outreach budget and shortened enrollment period are a portion of several new problems that Hoosiers signing up for health care on the exchanges face. Republicans have undermined the insurance markets or halted crucial subsidies, all of which will make insurance more expensive and undermine the law’s attempts to deliver quality, affordable health care. “The other impediments are all Trump Administration creations,” the Post wrote.

“Washington Republicans and the Trump Administration aren’t limiting themselves to raising insurance premiums for Hoosiers, they’re making it harder for Hoosiers to find health insurance at all,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “We ought to be reminding eligible Hoosiers to sign up for insurance and giving them every opportunity we can to attain quality, affordable health care, but Republicans are so blinded by partisan politics that they’re trying to stop families from finding the insurance they need.”

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