Dems ask Trump admin to protect rule on seniors' health costs

Dems ask Trump admin to protect rule on seniors' health costs

Senate Democrats are urging the Trump administration not to move forward with changes to ObamaCare that could lead to increased healthcare costs for older Americans.

In a letter to Tom Price, the newly confirmed secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Democratic Sens. Maggie Hassan (N.H.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBank watchdogs approve rule to loosen ban on risky Wall Street trades Dayton mayor assigned extra security following verbal spat with Trump The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape MORE (Ohio), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKlobuchar knocks Trump: 'This negotiating by tweet hasn't been working' Sunday shows preview: Trump ratchets up trade war with China Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates MORE (Minn.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperEPA ordered to set stronger smog standards America is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction FARA should apply to Confucius Institutes MORE (Del.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDemocratic candidates face hard choices as 2020 field winnows The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch Gabbard, Steyer inch toward making third Democratic debate MORE (N.Y.) warn against adjusting the age rating requirement in ObamaCare.

The Huffington Post reported last week that a forthcoming HHS regulation could change the ratio set under ObamaCare on how much more insurers can charge older people than younger people.

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“We write to express our serious concerns that the Trump administration is reportedly considering a change to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would have the direct impact of increasing health insurance costs for older adults and ask that this policy be removed from consideration,” the senators wrote.

“We oppose rolling back consumer protections established in the ACA that protect older Americans from discrimination. Loosening the age rating requirements in the ACA without also expanding advance premium tax credits is a misguided policy that will make health insurance less affordable for millions of Americans.”

Right now, the ratio is 3:1, meaning insurers can charge older people, who tend to have higher health costs, three times as much in premiums as younger people. Insurers have long been pushing to loosen up that requirement and allow for charging older people more. 

The Huffington Post reported that the Trump administration is considering a regulation to change the ratio to 3.49:1, under the theory that 3.49 still “rounds down” to three and therefore follows the law. 

Republican-sponsored bills in the House would change the ratio to 5:1. 

“We are concerned that the reported proposal to relax the age band will amount to an insurance company give-away at the expense of older adults,” the senators said. 

AARP, the powerful seniors lobby, has threatened to sue the Trump administration if it follows through on the regulation.