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Premiums Spike for Healthcare Plans

by Countable | 10.26.17

What’s the story?

Axios reports, with only six days until the next ACA open enrollment period begins on November 1, that premiums next year are going up, potentially by a lot, depending on where you live. They surveyed all the states and put together some useful infographics to show the likely changes across the board.

So-called ‘benchmark’, or middle of the road, plans are projected to go up by an average of 38%. The good news?

"Because of the way states and insurance companies dealt with the uncertainty around the ACA's cost-sharing subsidies, many people will now be able to get more comprehensive "gold" plans for a lower premium than the middle-of-the-road benchmark."

About those cost sharing subsidies? According to the Wall Street Journal, "A California federal judge on Wednesday said he wouldn’t force the Trump administration to continue paying insurers for providing health-coverage discounts to lower-income consumers."

The ACA requires insurers to provide these cost-sharing subsidies and about seven million people who buy health plans on the ACA’s insurance exchanges get them. Without the federal government reimbursing the insurance companies for the associated costs, Democrats fear the healthcare exchanges will fall apart.

There may be bipartisan hope on the horizon. however. Legislation formulated by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). According to the CBO report released Wednesday, reported by the Journal, the bill is projected to reduce the deficit by almost $4 billion over the next decade without significantly affecting the number of people who have coverage.

The plan does include reinstituting the cost-sharing payments, as well as giving states more flexibility in implementing the ACA and expanding access to lower-cost, lower-benefit plans. As a result of the lower-cost plans, the CBO anticipates that some consumers’ premium costs would drop.

The bill won’t be enacted until after the open enrollment period begins Nov. 1, though, so it won’t help premiums for 2018.

Democrats universally support the plan, but some in the GOP do not because it leaves so much of the ACA in place. President Trump is still a wild card.

What do you think?

Given the Axios reporting, is your premium likely go up next year? By how much? Do you receive cost-sharing reductions on your premium? Could you afford insurance if you didn’t? Do you support the bipartisan plan? If the bipartisan measure passes, would you purchase a lower-cost, lower benefit plan?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Pixabay / Creative Commons)

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