Insurers get more time to finalize 2018 Obamacare premiums requests

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Only 17 counties, all but three in Nevada, remain without insurers now enlisted to participate in an Affordable Care Act exchange for 2018.

An average of 4.6 insurers per state have said they intend to participate in the ACA in 2018 in the 20 states and the District of Columbia.

Kaiser reports that "the vast majority of insurers included in this analysis cite uncertainty surrounding the individual mandate and/or cost sharing subsidies as a factor in their 2018 rates filings".

Most insurers reacted to this uncertainty in one of two ways: They either factored them directly into their initial rate requests, or noted in their filings that they'd raise their rates-or exit the marketplaces-if either the mandate isn't enforced or the CSR payments aren't made. The mandate requires almost all Americans to get coverage or pay a penalty. The payments are now the subject of a lawsuit filed by House Republicans that was appealed by the Obama administration, and if Trump drops the appeal the payments will stop. That's because "Congress or the Administration could make significant changes in the coming months to the law-or its implementation-that could lead to significant losses if companies have not appropriately priced for these changes".

Similarly, six in 10 (60%) say that insurers' decisions not to sell insurance plans in certain marketplaces will affect everyone with insurance, and three-quarters (76%) say so about insurers charging higher premiums in certain marketplaces.


The report suggests that uncertainty over threats of repeal and replace by Republicans in the House and Senate, and the Trump Administration, have had a varying impact on potential premium increases.

"Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations, ' but I don't think so".

Only 3 in 10 want Trump and the Republicans to continue their efforts to repeal and replace the law.

KFF found that the highest proposed premium rate increases were in Wilmington, up 49 percent from $423 to $631 a month, up 34 percent from $258 to $346 in Albuquerque, N.M., and up 33 percent from $296 to $394 in Richmond, Va. Up to 7 million more people buy coverage off the exchange but don't qualify for subsidies.

Kaiser Health News, a nonprofit health newsroom whose stories appear in news outlets nationwide, is an editorially independent part of the Kaiser Family Foundation. 156 million people receive coverage through their employer, and 74 million are covered by Medicaid and the children's health insurance program.

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