Health Care

Analysis: ObamaCare premiums likely to rise if Congress scraps insurer payments

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Insurance premiums for ObamaCare’s silver plans would need to increase by 19 percent if Congress or the Trump administration don’t continue the law’s insurer payments, according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation

The analysis found the largest increases could come in Missouri, at 27 percent, and Florida, at 25 percent. 

States that didn’t expand their Medicaid programs under ObamaCare could face higher premiums than states that did, according to the foundation. 

Still, federal subsidies for people who qualify for them are designed to rise with premiums.

Insurers are anxiously waiting to hear whether Congress will continue paying the cost-sharing subsidies, which are payments to insurers to give lower-income people discounted deductibles. 

{mosads}The House GOP sued the Obama administration over the payments, arguing they were being made unconstitutionally. 

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the Department of Health and Human Services have said payments will continue while litigation plays out. 

They haven’t indicated, however, whether they will continue the payments for all of 2018 or into the future. 

Ceci Connolly, president of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, warned leadership in a letter this week that premiums for her plans would need to increase by as much as 20 percent if the payments aren’t continued. 

“The lack of clarity around [cost-sharing reduction] CSR payments as we near individual market rate filing deadlines means that millions of people are at risk for increased health insurance premiums,” Connolly said.

“Our plans estimate potential premium hikes stemming from the elimination of CSRs could result in increases in some areas as high as 20 percent.” 

Connolly asked that Congress appropriate the money to fund the payments “in order to stabilize health insurance markets and allow our plans to set affordable premiums.” 

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