Study links hikes in premiums to Trump
Analysis: Mixed signals create uncertainty.
Actions by the Trump administration are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many peo- ple, according to a nonpar- tisan study.
The analysis released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that mixed signals from President Donald Trump have created uncertainty “far outside the norm” and led insur- ers to seek higher premium increases for 2018 than would otherwise have been the case.
Republicans in Congress have not delivered on their promise to repeal and replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. Trump is insisting that lawmakers try again and, in the meantime, has threat- ened to stop billions of dollars in payments to insurers.
Kaiser researchers looked at proposed premiums for a benchmark silver plan across major metropolitan areas in 20 states and Washing- ton, D.C. Overall, they found that 15 of those cities will see increases of 10 percent or more next year.
About 10 million people who buy policies through HealthCare.gov and state- run markets are potentially affected, as are 5 million to 7 million more who purchase individual policies on their own.
Those in t he govern- ment-sponsored markets receive tax credits that defray the cost. But off-marketplace customers pay full freight, and they face a second consecutive year of steep increases. Many are self-employed business owners.
The report found insurer participation in the ACA mar- kets will be lower than at any time since they were launched in 2014. The aver- age is 4.6 insurers in the states studied, down from 5.1 this year. In many cases insurers do not sell plans in every community in a state.
The researchers analyzed publicly available filings through which insurers justify their proposed premiums to state regulators. Insurers are struggling with sicker-than-expected customers and disappointing enrollment, and an industry tax is expected to add 2 to 3 percentage points to premiums next year.
On top of that, the researchers found that mixed signals from the administration account for some of the higher charges.
“The vast majority of companies in states with detailed rate filings have included some language around the uncertainty, so it is likely that more companies will revise their premiums to reflect uncertainty in the absence of clear answers from Congress or the administration,” the report said.
An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that mixed signals from President Donald Trump have created uncertainty that led insurers to seek higher premium increases for 2018 than would otherwise have been the case.