At deadline, demand still high for Obamacare in Philly despite planned repeal

    FILE - In this Tuesday

    FILE - In this Tuesday

    Open enrollment for receiving health insurance through the Affordable Care Act ends at midnight, Tuesday night. Sign ups in our region are still high, despite plans by President Trump and Republicans in Congress to repeal it. 

    You might wonder if all the talk of repeal and replace, what’s often called Obamacare would mean fewer people signing up for health coverage? Not in the Philadelphia region, says Antoinette Kraus, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network.

    “We’ve seen an influx,” she said. “[The] numbers seem to be up around the country.”  

    The debate around the existence of Obamacare, she said, is in fact driving more to enroll. 

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    “They’re reading the headlines about the uncertainty of the Affordable Care Act, so they want to get covered.”

    Her message to those who are unsure of what to do? Get covered.

    “Even if you only have health coverage for a short time, and we’re anticipating that folks will have health insurance for a year, but it’s available. The website is still working,” she said.

    President Trump did briefly remove paid ads promoting the ACA last week before reinstating them. 

    After previously stopping the government from reaching out to people eligible for ACA coverage, Trump also is allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to continue to contact them by email, text or automated phone calls.

    Independence Blue Cross, the only insurer offering plans in the ACA marketplace in Philadelphia, reports its numbers are up about 18 percent, though the figures are not final. 

    The insurer has so far in 2017 enrolled more than 200,000 people, according to a company spokesperson. 

    “As the only insurer on the marketplace in Pennsylvania we currently have enrolled approximately 30,000 more members this year than last year,” the insurance company wrote in a statement.

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