Actuaries warn Congress mandate repeal would increase premiums

Actuaries warn Congress mandate repeal would increase premiums
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The American Academy of Actuaries is warning Congress against repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate in tax reform, saying the move could lead to higher premiums and insurers leaving the market.

The group warned in a letter to Congress on Tuesday against repealing the mandate in tax reform, as Senate Republicans propose.

The mandate requires that everyone has health insurance or pays a fine. The actuaries warn that without the incentive for healthier people to enroll, sicker and costlier people would remain, driving up costs.

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“Eliminating the individual mandate would lead to premium increases,” writes Shari Westerfield, a vice president at the American Academy of Actuaries.

She also warned insurers could simply drop out of the market, limiting consumers’ choices.

“Insurers would likely reconsider their future participation in the market” without a mandate, she writes. “This could lead to severe market disruption and loss of coverage among individual market enrollees.”

Senate Republicans argue that repealing the mandate is a form of tax relief for low-income people, given that almost 80 percent of those paying the penalty for not having coverage make less than $50,000 per year.

The actuaries group wrote in its letter to Congress that it “strongly encourages you to consider the adverse consequences of eliminating the individual mandate.”