Bipartisan Governors’ Group Shares Plan to Shore Up Obamacare

A bipartisan group of eight governors is calling for changes to Obamacare that would increase funding under the law, enforce some of its rules on buying insurance, and encourage more health insurers to participate in the program.

The proposal, led by Ohio Republican John Kasich and Democrat John Hickenlooper of Colorado, comes as premiums under the program continue to rise in many states and as insurers have pulled out.

Read more at Bloomberg

Trump’s Threats to Obamacare Subsidies Could Hurt Hospital Admissions

The rise in out-of-pocket health costs worries hospital operators now forecasting a downturn in admissions if patients don’t get relief from high deductibles and co-payments via subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Already, hospitals are seeing soft admissions as employers and commercial carriers shift more out-of-pocket costs onto workers for their surgeries and related hospitalizations. It’s a trend hurting large hospital operators like Tenet Healthcare and HCA Holdings and is beginning to spread to nonprofit hospitals and health systems as well.

Read more at Forbes

An Anti-Obamacare Argument Evaporates: No Counties Now Lack Exchange Insurers

On Thursday morning, the last gap was closed. In every county in the country, an insurance provider was ready to handle people enrolling for Obamacare.

Read more at the Washington Post

Only One County in US Remains Without an Obamacare Insurer for 2018

  • There has been a steady decrease in the number of counties at risk of having no Obamacare plans next year.
  • There had been 82 counties containing 92,000 Obamacare customers that were at risk of having no individual health plans offered in 2018.
  • Currently, there are fewer than 350 people who buy such plans in the only county still at risk of not having an insurer in 2018.

 

Read more at CNBC

If Congress Doesn’t Fund Obamacare Subsidies Next Month It Could Get Pretty Complicated

  • Insurers can’t wait past a Sept. 30 deadline to set key insurance rates for next year.
  • However, the fate of key subsidy payments under the Affordable Care Act is still unknown.
  • State health insurance regulators expect that subsidies could remain in limbo past key deadlines, and are making plans for that possibility.

Read more at CNBC

Sticker Shock: Iowa’s Only Obamacare Insurer Seeks 57 Percent Rate Increase

Iowa’s lone ObamaCare insurer has requested a 57 percent rate increase for 2018, citing uncertainty over how the Trump administration will handle the healthcare law.

In a revised rate request, Medica on Wednesday asked for an increase 13 percentage points higher than its original request filed in June.

Medica and other insurers have worried about whether the Trump administration will continue funding key Obamacare payments known as cost-sharing reductions.

Read more at The Hill

Key Obamacare Subsidies Will Continue Being Paid to Insurers Despite Trump Threats to End Them

  • The subsidies reduce out-of-pocket health costs for low- and middle-income Obamacare customers
  • Trump has repeatedly threatened to end reimbursements to insurers for the subsidies to try to force passage of Obamacare replacement bills.
  • Some insurers have already asked for higher premium rates next year explicitly because of Trump not guaranteeing the payments.

Read more at CNBC

Trump Administration Extends Deadline for Insurers to Decide on Obamacare Markets

The Trump administration is giving insurance companies an extra three weeks to decide whether to offer insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act markets, and how much to charge.

The extension comes as insurance companies wait for President Trump to decide whether he will continue to make payments to insurance companies that are called for under the Affordable Care Act but that some Republicans have opposed.

The payments — known as cost-sharing reduction payments — reimburse insurance companies for discounts on copayments and deductibles that they’re required by law to offer to low-income customers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the payments this year would be about $7 billion.

Read more at NPR

Obamacare Premiums Are Set to Rise. Thank Policy Uncertainty.

Insurers are making final decisions about their Obamacare rates for next year. So far, it looks as if many of them will be building in an uncertainty tax.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has compiled proposed insurance prices for coverage in 21 large American cities next year. The rates remain subject to change as insurers and regulators continue to negotiate. But the Kaiser researchers have done similar analyses over the last few years and found the proposed rates to be roughly predictive of the national trend.

Two themes stick out: One is that, while insurance premiums will rise substantially in many cities, the increases are generally not bigger than they were last year. The other is that insurers are being quite explicit about citing the Trump administration’s hostile policy messages as a substantial reason for the higher prices.

Read more at The New York Times

White House Shifts Tone on Obamacare Repeal, Signals Openness to Bipartisan ‘Fix’

The Trump administration, thwarted in several attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, notably shifted tone Wednesday, opening the door for a bipartisan plan to “fix” the law.

“Both folks in the House and the Senate, on both sides of the aisle frankly, have said that Obamacare doesn’t work, and it needs to be either repealed or fixed,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said on Fox & Friends. “So the onus is on Congress.”

Read more at the LA Times