Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) issued the following statement today in response to the Administration’s decision to end funding for cost sharing reductions (CSR) – a key provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CSRs are a critical consumer protection that reduces deductibles and copayments for individuals with lower incomes who qualify for a premium tax credit under the law.
“Lower income individuals are often unable to afford high deductibles and copayments for their health care and may forego needed care as a result of the cost,” explained NAHU CEO Janet Trautwein. “CSR payments from the federal government reimburse carriers for lowering costs for doctor visits and prescription drugs for patients that qualify for the program. Without reimbursement for the additional benefits provided to these individuals, insurance carriers will have no choice but to increase premiums to offset the unreimbursed expenses, pricing some people out of coverage.
“Doing away with this critical program will further deteriorate an already unstable individual market and hurt consumers who depend on these programs to make their health care affordable, leading to fewer choices, less access and even higher premiums.
“Many health insurance carriers have already left the individual market, and far too many counties only have one carrier remaining. Funding these payments will go a long way toward stabilizing the individual markets while members of Congress debate ACA reform efforts.
“Additional legislative action will be necessary to fully stabilize the individual market but continuing CSR payments will be a step in the right direction. We look forward to working with members of Congress and the Administration on this and other bipartisan efforts to make health care more affordable and accessible to all Americans.”