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

Congress Is Doing ‘the Unthinkable’ on Obamacare

Congress has done the unthinkable: started down a bipartisan path toward fixing a broken health-care system.

Over the past week, the House and Senate set forward plans to fix problems plaguing Obamacare. The move is a stark departure from the previous Republican plans of replacing Obamacare altogether or repealing it and punting on a solution until a later date. While it’s a welcome change in strategy that’s more likely to gain traction than repeal/replace plans, the bipartisan efforts fall short of addressing four key areas instrumental to stabilizing the Affordable Care Act for the long run.

The two recently announced bipartisan plans take different approaches to fixing Obamacare, and the differences are immediately apparent.

Read more at CNBC

 

Court Complicates Trump’s Threat to Cut ‘Obamacare’ Funds

President Donald Trump’s bold threat to push “Obamacare” into collapse may get harder to carry out after a new court ruling.

The procedural decision late Tuesday by a federal appeals panel in Washington has implications for millions of consumers. The judges said that a group of states can defend the legality of government “cost-sharing” subsidies for copays and deductibles under the Affordable Care Act if the Trump administration decides to stop paying the money.

Read more at ABC News

Obamacare Architect: We Need to Fix Some of Our Mistakes That Led to Soaring Cost

While arguing against getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and former health policy advisor in the administration of Barack Obama, told CNBC on Tuesday that Republicans and Democrats need to put politics aside to tweak urgent problems with the 2010 health-care law.

“We need to have a timeline that’s over the next few months that’s going to stabilize the exchanges, but primarily try to bring the premiums down in the exchanges,” said Emanuel, an architect of the ACA, better known as Obamacare. He’s currently chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Read more at CNBC

Obamacare: First Republican Healthcare Bill Fails in US Senate

The US Senate has rejected a Republican plan to replace President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare policy.

The 57-43 vote defeat marks the start of a days-long debate on a sweeping overhaul that critics fear could deny healthcare to millions of Americans.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BRCA) was crafted over two months but attention now turns to other options. President Donald Trump has urged senators to pass a bill, without indicating which one he supports.

A repeal-only bill, which would consign so-called Obamacare to history in two years, to give time to Republicans to devise a replacement, could be debated and voted on next. But that measure – which non-partisan analysts say will take health insurance from more than 30 million people – has already failed to win enough support in the Republican party.

Read more at the BCC

Republicans’ Push to Roll Back Obamacare Faces Crucial Test

  • The Senate will decide as early as Tuesday whether to begin debating a health-care bill.
  • But it remained unclear over the weekend which version of the bill the senators would ultimately vote on.
  • President Donald Trump, after initially suggesting last week that he was fine with letting Obamacare collapse, has urged Republican senators to hash out a deal.

Read more at CNBC