In the Health Reform Update for the past two weeks, the Trump Administration delays a critical decision on whether to terminate cost-sharing reductions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite insurer requests for clarity on whether they will be available for the 2018 plan year. Dominant insurers in Georgia and Kansas pledge to stay in their ACA Marketplaces, while insurers in Missouri, North Carolina, and Oregon either exit the Marketplace, more than double their premiums, or scale back coverage areas in response to the uncertainty.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirms that the ACA repeal and replace bill passed by the House this month will dramatically raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs for those with pre-existing conditions. Projections of 24 million in coverage losses and nearly 850 percent cost increases for the low-income elderly are also forcing closed-door Senate negotiations to consider significantly boosting the amount of premium tax credits under the legislation.
A bipartisan letter that urges the Trump Administration to ensure non-profit premium and cost-sharing assistance are available to Marketplace consumers attracts more than 180 House members.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announces that it will let states decide whether insurer cost-sharing tiers are discriminatory, will no longer handle enrollment for the small business Marketplaces created by the ACA, and will stop requiring federal Marketplace consumers to complete their applications on HealthCare.gov.