I recently wrote about the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance marketplace. Today, as many citizens begin the Open Enrollment Season to sign up for 2018 health insurance, we are discovering just how drastically Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are hurting Americans by actively trying to destabilize the health insurance market in order to kill the ACA.
Insurance Rates Roller Coaster
Insurance companies have to set their premiums, or “rates,” many months before the Healthcare.gov exchange opens, because state agencies (in Virginia, the Bureau of Insurance, which is a division of the State Corporation Commission) must review insurers’ plans and proposed rates in the summertime to meet federal deadlines. As you probably recall, during the first eight months of 2017 Congress tried several times to repeal the ACA. Trump used his Twitter account to agitate for repeal, even threatening Representatives and Senators who did not fall into line with his desire to get rid of “Obamacare.”
He also actively sabotaged a crucial ACA tool that has kept premiums lower by threatening to eliminate the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments to insurance companies that helped families afford coverage. Faced with so much uncertainty and increased risk, health insurers began to withdraw their participation in some markets, and requested approval of significantly higher premiums for many of their ACA-compliant policies. [Read more…]