The Trump administration has given health insurers an additional seven weeks to file rates for plans on the individual and small group marketplaces in 2018.
A draft notice posted last week by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) states that rate-filing deadlines for health plans selling products on the Affordable Care Act exchanges have been moved from May 3 to June 21.
Meanwhile, House Republicans filed a motion with the U.S. Department of Justice in the GOP’s bid to block certain payments to health insurers. Congressional Republicans have been balking at paying insurers for the ACA’s required cost-sharing reductions for lower-income consumers.
If cost-sharing reduction payments end, insurers would have to absorb the cost unless Congress appropriates the necessary funds. The federal payments to insurers amounted to $4.9 billion in 2015, Margaret Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, told Modern Healthcare.
Many observers foresee health insurers leaving the marketplace if the federal payments end and the insurers’ contracts permit them to do so.
So far, neither the Trump administration nor congressional Republican leaders have offered a bill to fund the payments. House Republicans claim the Obama administration funded the cost-sharing subsidies illegally without a congressional appropriation. But many fear a lawsuit against the cost-sharing payments could disrupt the insurance market.
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at Susan.Rupe@innfeedback.com.
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