Trump Suspends Obamacare Payments To Insurers

Trump Suspends Obamacare Payments To Insurers

Trump Suspends Obamacare Payments To Insurers

The Trump administration said Saturday that it is temporarily halting billions of dollars of payments created to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick.

The move is expected to add to premium increases next year.

Insurance stocks may be a focus in Monday morning's trading. Trump tweeted dozens and dozens of times about Obamacare and its demise a year ago as he pushed the Senate to repeal the law.

Many Trump followers often cheer cuts to Obamacare, not knowing that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are one in the same.

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In its announcement, CMS said the private sector is more cost-effective, so people looking for health coverage should be encouraged to go to insurance agents and brokers (who may receive a commission, unlike navigators).

FILE PHOTO: A man fills out an information card during an Affordable Care Act outreach event hosted by Planned Parenthood for the Latino community in Los Angeles, California September 28, 2013.

The president last fall also issued an executive order to try to make it easier for individuals and small businesses to buy health plans that cost less than ACA coverage because they cover fewer medical services and bypass the law's rules meant to protect people from old insurance practices in which companies had charged higher prices to women, older people, and those with preexisting medical conditions. But another district court in MA upheld the formula. "This decision reflects CMS' commitment to put federal dollars for the Federally-facilitated Exchanges to their most cost effective use in order to better support consumers through the enrollment process", CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.

Risk adjustment is an important part of the ACA. About $10.4 billion was slated to be transferred previous year. In a March 2018 ruling out of New Mexico, US District Court Judge Thomas Browning that the methodology used by the federal government was "arbitrary and capricious" and remanded it back to the agency, according to Lexis Legal News. The ruling barred Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from making further collections or payments under the program, including amounts for the 2017 benefit year, until the litigation is resolved.

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The elimination of risk adjustment funds also comes as Maryland officials await a decision from CMS on another funding mechanism they believe would help stabilize the market and provide money to insurers to help pay for expensive patients.

These moves are prompting some insurers to request premium hikes for 2019 in the double digits. "It is important to keep in mind that the original risk adjustment payments are budget-neutral such that for some insurers to win, other insurers have to lose".

"The risk adjustment formula was extremely biased in favor of large, established insurers and discriminated against new and small insurers, including co-ops like ours", Hickey told The New York Times on July 7.

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