Key ObamaCare premiums drop for third straight year
Average ObamaCare premiums will decline by 2 percent for the 2021 year for a benchmark plan, the Trump administration announced, marking the third straight year of declines.
Premiums for the benchmark plan have declined by 8 percent on the HealthCare.gov platform over the three-year period since the 2018 plan year, the administration said.
The announcement from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is an indication of how the Trump administration is claiming credit for its stewardship of the Affordable Care Act while at the same time backing a lawsuit to scrap the law.
“Bottom line – The President has delivered, lower cost and more choice,” said CMS administrator Seema Verma. “Our changes to the regulations and how we have managed the Exchanges have proven to be more effective than previous administrations.”
President Trump also made clear last month that he still wants ObamaCare struck down.
“Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court. Would be a big WIN for the USA!” he tweeted.
The administration argues, however, that as long as law is still on the books, it is being managed well.
The simple passage of time is also a factor in the stabilization of the ObamaCare markets. Insurers initially underpriced their premiums when the law kicked into gear in 2014, and then had to raise them to avoid losses. As the years have gone on, insurers have more experience in the marketplaces and have priced more accurately.
More insurers are also participating in the law’s marketplaces, the administration said. Just 9 percent of counties will have only one insurer offering ObamaCare coverage, down from 50 percent of counties in 2018.
Democrats have pointed to cuts in outreach funding and the expansion of cheaper, skimpier “short-term plans” to argue that the Trump administration is undermining the law.