Health insurers weigh double-digit premium raises amid Trump 'uncertainty': Study

Because of policy "uncertainty" from the Trump administration that is "far outside the norm," some health insurers are considering double-digit increases to premiums in 2018, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The study found that the vast majority of providers cited "uncertainty" over the individual mandate and cost sharing reductions, CSRs, as a factor in proposing increased premiums, according to preliminary rate filings in 20 states and Washington D.C.

Some insurers have requested double-digit premium increases, citing "mixed signals" from the Trump administration about whether the mandate that individuals must be insured will be enforced and whether the government subsidies will be paid, according to the study.

The study looks at how much and where the most popular plan, the second-lowest silver plan, would rise in costs. Out of all the major cities in the 20 states and D.C. the study looked at, the steepest cost increases to that plan were in Wilmington, Delaware; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Richmond, Virginia.

Insurers have until next Wednesday, August 16, to finalize their rates for 2018.

Some providers have said if CSRs payments end or if they don't receive clarity by August 16, they'll consider further increases in premium costs or pulling out of the marketplace altogether.

"If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!" Trump tweeted on July 29.

Part of the "uncertainty" is that President Trump has not announced whether he will follow through on those threats to pull government subsidies.

Nearly two weeks ago, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said the president was going to decide that week about whether to continue the CSRs.

"He's going to make that decision this week and that's the decision that only he can make," Conway in an interview with Fox News on Sunday, July 30.

Insurers may revise their rates for individuals who want to purchase insurance on the marketplace, depending on what actions Trump or Congress take, the study said.

The deadline for health insurers to sign contracts to participate in the 2018 marketplace is September 27.
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