Press Release: President Trump to Blame for Premium Increases

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Contact: Robyn Shapiro, robyn.shapiro@berlinrosen.com, 202-800-7407

 President Trump to Blame for Premium Increases

Ethan Rome and Margarida Jorge, co-directors of Health Care for America Now, released the following statement regarding premium increases filed today by insurance companies participating in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces. The increases are expected to be significantly higher than they would otherwise be because insurers are unsure if federal cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) will continue. The Trump Administration has refused to commit to continuing these payments, which help keep out-of-pocket health care costs manageable for eligible consumers purchasing health insurance through the exchanges, and help to maintain a stable health insurance market.

“By refusing to commit to continuing the cost-sharing reduction payments under the ACA, the president is creating uncertainty in the market and causing insurers to file rate requests that are significantly higher than they would otherwise be. This is a direct act of ACA sabotage by Trump. Because Trump has kept these payments in limbo, he has forced insurance companies to pull out of markets or increase premiums.

“Instead of working to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take away health care from millions to give tax breaks to the very wealthy and insurance and drug companies, President Trump and Congressional Republicans should work to expand access to affordable care. The stakes are too high for millions across the country to play political games with their health care.”

One of the main ways the Affordable Care Act helps keep out-of-pocket health care costs manageable for Americans is cost-sharing reduction payments for eligible consumers who purchase health insurance through the ACA exchanges. However, the Trump Administration has left these payments in limbo, refusing to definitively state whether they will continue to fund these subsidies or defend them in court from a lawsuit by Congressional Republicans. This creates uncertainty in the health insurance market, forcing insurers to raise rates to compensate for the loss of these funds.

According to a new study by the actuarial firm Oliver Wyman, up to two-thirds of 2018 rate increases will be due to the uncertainty surrounding two market influences – the cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) and relaxed enforcement of the individual mandate, and the CSR issue is the biggest factor. A Kaiser Family Foundation study estimates that rates would need to go up by 19 percent to compensate for the loss of the payments.

 

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Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is the national grassroots coalition that ran a $60 million five-and-a-half year campaign from 2008-2013 to pass, protect, and promote the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and protect Medicare and Medicaid. HCAN has come back together to fight the Republicans’ all-out effort to take away America’s health care and put people at the mercy of the health insurance companies again.