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Feds issue new rules aimed to strengthen ObamaCare market

Feds issue new rules aimed to strengthen ObamaCare market
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The Obama administration on Friday issued new rules making tweaks to the ObamaCare insurance marketplaces for next year, seeking to address lingering issues even as Republicans push forward with plans to repeal the law. 
 
The 465-page final regulation for 2018, part of an annual process to set the rules for the law’s marketplaces, seeks to address some insurer complaints with how the marketplaces operate. 
 
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Those complaints have been part of the discussion around some insurers dropping out of the law’s marketplaces, limiting coverage options for people in some places.  
 
Among other moves, the regulation makes changes to the formula used to calculate payments to insurers under a program called risk adjustment. That program is intended to shield insurers against financial losses from high-cost enrollees, but insurers have complained that it does not work effectively. 
 
The action comes on the heels of the administration’s move to launch a pilot program to require documentation to make sure people signing up in ObamaCare’s extra signup periods actually qualify. Insurers have complained that sick people are driving up costs by gaming the system and signing up during these extra periods. 
 
“The Administration will leave the Marketplace on a stable path that, when fully implemented, will ensure quality coverage is available for all Americans well into the future,” Andy Slavitt, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees ObamaCare, said in a statement. 
 
While Republicans are moving forward with repeal efforts, the health law’s marketplaces are still expected to remain in operation in some form for a couple of years, given the GOP’s plan to delay some elements of repeal from taking effect. 
 
That delay will buy time for Republicans to try to come up with a replacement, though experts warn that even delayed repeal could cause chaos in the system.