$800M left over in ObamaCare reinsurance program

$800M left over in ObamaCare reinsurance program

The federal government announced Tuesday that it has $800 million remaining in its reimbursement fund for health insurers this year, a sign that marketplaces under ObamaCare needed less life support than expected.

The Obama administration paid out a total of $7.9 billion in its reinsurance program in 2014, less than the $8.7 billion it collected in payments. The rest will carry over into the next two years.

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The reinsurance program, a key part of ObamaCare, creates a funding pool to help insurers pay off medical bills above a certain threshold. The program is only intended for the early years of the law’s rollout, when a healthy risk pool is still being established.

Under the law, the majority of the payments are doled out during first year of the exchange, when there is a greater chance that sick customers will outnumber healthy customers.

Nearly all of the 484 health insurers that paid into the pool will be receiving some money back. About 50 plans did not qualify. With the extra money from 2014, health companies can now split a $1.8 billion pool of reinsurance money through 2016.

The data released late Tuesday, which includes a state-by-state breakdown of risk pools, offers a glimpse at which healthcare companies nationwide enrolled the sickest customers.

For example, two companies in California — Blue Cross Blue Shield of California and the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan — are receiving multi-million dollar payments while a competitor, Aetna, is not receiving any payments.