Louisiana Obamacare premiums will drop next year

Modesto Morganelli
Ottobre 14, 2018

The price of the most popular level of health insurance sold under the Affordable Care Act will drop slightly next year, the first time rates have dropped since the law was implemented, The New York Times reports.

CMS said the average individual market premiums in states in the federal exchange more than doubled between 2014, when the exchanges began, and 2017.

The average monthly premium will decrease from $412 in 2018 to $406 in 2019, according to CMS.

The 1.5% decrease follows last year's 36.9% increase, which was significantly higher than the 25.4% increase heading into 2017, according to the CMS data released Thursday.

Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, said Anthem, Wellmark, Molina and Cigna are returning to the markets.

"The rhetoric on the exchanges has not matched the facts", Verma said, and despite predictions that the insurance market would destabilize, the opposite has happened. Tennessee has by far the largest reduction in its benchmark premium, 26.2 percent, officials said. Because the subsidies are tied to premium costs, people who do get subsidies may get less financial help and may want to look for cheaper plans to make the most of their subsidy.

States with the largest increases in benchmark premiums next year are DE, up 16.1 percent to $561 a month; Hawaii, up 12.5 percent, to $404; and North Dakota, up 20.2 percent, to $375.

Open enrollment for 2019 runs from November 1 through December 15. Cynthia Cox, director of health reforms and private insurance at Kaiser Family Foundation, said on Twitter that 15 states will have more payers in the exchanges in 2019.

The outlook for the ACA and its health care exchanges may not be so positive past 2019. Outside health policy analysts, however, challenged the administration's reasoning, saying that the rates for ACA health plans were driven up previous year in an overreaction to the administration's maneuvers and that prices would have been even lower for 2019 if Trump and his health-care aides had not been altering the law. To prepare for that, and for just general chaos, insurers raised rates. Administration officials pointed to the new numbers as evidence that President Donald Trump is cleaning up the mess left behind by the Obama administration, and improving healthcare.

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said the lower premiums are "encouraging", but that the law is set up to fail over time.

In an interview with Fox News late Wednesday, Trump said that despite failed efforts to repeal and replace the Obamacare system previous year, "we have things happening on health care that are going to be very, very exciting". That being said, although the Trump administration has taken steps to undermine the ACA, some of the administration's actions have promoted stability, Levitt added Thursday. Still, the moderating prices for the most popular coverage will be helpful, in particular, to middle-class Americans - about 1 in 5 ACA customers - whose incomes place them above the threshold for the law's insurance subsidies. She cited decisions to expand the use of plans that don't provide all ACA patient protections and the dramatic cut in outreach and enrollment assistance for consumers. But the marketplace price hikes have become a political lightning rod - bolstering the arguments from Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal the health law. About 2 in 5 counties will have one marketplace insurer, compared with more than half last year, as will four states, compared with 10 last year.

"So what we saw was enrollment stayed remarkably stable this year", she said. "I've gotten at least a call a day from some health care enrollment center that sounds like it might be part of the exchanges but is not", Fish-Parcham said.

"For millions of people, the law needs to change", she told reporters".

"While some have publicly been accusing us of sabotage, the reality is that we have been working hard to do everything we can to mitigate the damage caused by Obamacare", she added.

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