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For the busy professional wanting the latest info on politics and health care. 

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60 executive actions have been signed by Biden this year and the two that affect your health care.

When President Biden took office he vowed to undo the damage done by Trump’s health care policy. It is always our hope people in government office will work for us and not against us. However, making decisions that benefit one group will inevitably be to the detriment of others no matter the subject. 

When it comes to your health and the coverage you have, the president can sign executive orders putting things in place without the need for legislation. They are legally binding and published in the Federal Register. Executive action is a catch-all term for the tools the executive branch may use. Unlike executive orders, executive actions carry no legal weight. 

President Biden has signed 60 executive actions his first 3 and a half months in office. Many addressed coronavirus or undoing of previous policy. Only one executive order has been signed dealing directly with health care. A memo was also signed, considered an executive action, ordering agency heads to review how they were enforcing current policy.

Executive Order 14009 Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed for a Special Enrollment Period through the marketplace for anyone that needs insurance. Normally, the enrollment period ends December 15th of each year. Not only does it allow more time for people needing health coverage but this order also specifically requires agencies to review policies that undermine or reduce coverage under ACA, undermine markets for health insurance, or reduce health care affordability or financial assistance.

These changes are welcomed by people needing health insurance and particularly those with subsidized insurance through the federal marketplace. However, there is still a gap for individuals that are self-employed or purchasing insurance through a current employer. Prices for health care premiums continue to increase along with the cost of deductibles but there is no subsidy for this set of the population putting them at an increased risk of being under-insured.

Did Biden reverse everything Trump put in place to protect health care coverage?

While signing 14009 helped the working poor, it revoked health care safeguards that were put in place for the self-employed and under-insured. Executive order 13765 was revoked, which made it possible for states to have more flexibility in implementing health care options. Under executive order 13765 all states, had the ability, to implement marketplace plans differently than through the federal marketplace. However, they could not do this on a whim. A waiver had to be filed and approved before moving forward with this action.

Also revoked, was executive order 13813, which provided for insurance purchasing across state lines. If you were in a state with only one extremely expensive health care plan no other options this executive order provided competition. As a result of ACA, many states experienced insurance companies leaving the marketplace resulting in one option. This order also allowed for short-term limited plans to be purchased and renewable for longer lengths of time. Executive Order 13813 was particularly helpful for self-employed and working individuals without insurance coverage through an employer. 

If it feels like everything has changed with your health care since President Biden took office you might be right. Depending on how you purchase your health insurance the reversal of Trump’s executive orders on health care has changed things quickly this year. 

If you continue to feel like you can’t make heads or tails of your health care, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Health care can be simple to understand with a little help.

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