The Trump administration’s refusal to make Obama-era payments to insurance companies could increase insurance premiums and cost the government hundreds of billions of dollars.
Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler announced Oct. 17 that a decision by President Donald Trump to discontinue cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies will increase premiums on plans through the Affordable Care Act by 9 to 27 percent on top of the double-digit increases announced in June.
“Make no mistake: The president had a choice and he chose to make health care cost significantly more for people who need help,” Kreidler wrote in a press release.
Cost-sharing reductions are payments made by the federal government to help low-income people afford “silver” plans in the ACA marketplaces. They are effectively reimbursements to insurance companies. Stopping the payments means insurance companies are on the hook for the discounts on copays and deductibles required by law, which leads to higher premiums.
The decision is expected to increase the federal deficit by $194 billion over 10 years, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson joined a lawsuit over ending the payments.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @AshleyA_RC
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