Health exchange COO says ruling doesn’t affect sign-ups
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The head of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange tried to assure residents Saturday that a federal judge’s ruling will not affect their ability to sign up for and use 2019 plans offered through Access Health CT.
Chief Executive Officer James Michel’s comments came less than 24 hours after a Texas judge ruled the Obama health law is unconstitutional.
“Access Health CT is the official marketplace under the Affordable Care Act in Connecticut and we are committed to upholding the ACA and the support it provides to residents of our state,” he said in a written statement. “We will not let this news get in the way” of the organization’s efforts to reduce the number of uninsured in the state.
While the decision by the Republican-appointed judge in Texas was sweeping, it has little immediate practical impact because the Affordable Care Act remains in place while the legal battle continues, possibly to the Supreme Court.
Access Health CT also announced Saturday that it is extending its open enrollment period for another month.
The deadline to sign up for health insurance coverage beginning Jan. 1 was Saturday at midnight. However, the exchange announced Saturday afternoon that customers will now have until Jan. 15 to sign up for coverage that starts on Feb. 1. The extension was planned prior to the Texas court ruling.
In his decision, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor said the entire 2010 Affordable Care Act is “invalid” following last year’s tax cut bill, which knocked the constitutional foundation from under the law by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage.
Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, accused “anti-health care zealots in the Republican Party” of “intentionally ripping health care away from the working poor” and increasing costs for seniors and people with pre-existing medical conditions. But Republican President Donald Trump praised the judge’s decision in a tweet. He told reporters Saturday that “on the assumption that the Supreme Court upholds, we will get great, great health care for our people.”