Shoring Up the ACA Marketplaces

With the President on vacation and Congress in recess, shoring up the ACA marketplaces is becoming a game of chicken between insurers and the Trump Administration. 

Drew Altman of the Kaiser Family Foundation puts the ACA stability "crisis" in perspective by looking at how many people will be affected by the rising premiums. Kaiser also released a report this week which found that mixed signals from President Trump have created uncertainty "far outside the norm" and led insurers to seek higher premium increases for 2018 than would otherwise have been the case.

Meanwhile, Politico reported last week that Maryland Insurance Commissioner, Al Redmer, Jr., is considering allowing insurers to file revised rates, assuming the cost-sharing subsidies disappear. Our state is already facing some of the highest premium spikes in the country, with CareFirst seeking to raise rates by more than 50%. Just yesterday, CMS announced that it would extend the filing deadline for health insurance carriers by 3 weeks to Sept. 5th. This will give insurers uncertain about the future of the marketplaces more time to make decisions about pricing their plans and may calm the markets.

The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) returns in 2018 and will result in higher premiums, totaling $22 billion for more than 100 million Americans - impacting those who receive insurance through Medicare Advantage and Part D or their employer. Congress still has time to act to prevent the return of this tax

And finally, last Wednesday, a bipartisan coalition of health policy leaders called on Congress to strengthen the existing healthcare law with a 5-point proposal to help Americans gain access and stay covered.