Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress released an analysis showing how Trump’s threats to sabotage the Affordable Care Act will send marketplace premiums soaring while also driving insurers out of the market next year. CAP’s column comes on the heels of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report showing that premiums and the federal deficit will rise if President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to terminate cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments.
CAP estimates that uncertainty over CSR payments and the administration’s enforcement of the individual mandate will raise 2018 premiums for benchmark plan coverage an extra $1,061 annually for a 40-year-old and $2,491 annually for a 64-year-old.
“Withdrawing funding for this support for enrollees is a lose-lose situation for marketplace consumers and for taxpayers. Even without a final decision on CSRs, Trump’s threats alone to sabotage the law are driving up costs and driving out insurers. Congress needs to act fast to fund these payments and provide certainty to the market for 2018 and beyond,” said Emily Gee, health economist at CAP.
“Trump and Republicans in Congress have created this problem in the insurance market, and they need to fix it. If Congress acts quickly to protect people from Trump’s sabotage, it will save money and help people stay covered,” said Sam Berger, senior policy adviser at CAP.
Both Trump’s refusal to say whether he will permanently fund the CSRs as well as his directives to undermine the individual mandate are also driving insurers from the market. Trump has proposed cutting funding for consumer outreach and enrollment; shortened the open enrollment period; and ended relationships with partners working to sign up individuals on insurance. As a result, fewer insurers are expected to serve the marketplace next year, and those who do provide coverage will charge higher premiums.
Over the past few months, insurers have filed their initial rate requests for 2018 with state and federal authorities. Initial filings show that individual insurers have added as much as 20 percent to account for lax enforcement of the mandate and as much as 23 percent to account for the lack of CSR payments. The filings show the Trump administration’s sabotage is having an effect: Rates are significantly higher than the high single-digit to low- to mid-teen increases that experts had anticipated in the absence of uncertainty.
Click here to read “The Trump Premium Tax Will Increase Premiums Up to $2,500 Next Year” by Sam Berger and Emily Gee.
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