Maryland insurers say Trump Administration to cut health payments destabilizes market

In another act of sabotage Trump slashes Obamacare outreach funding to the bone

The nonprofit consortium was the largest recipient of federal navigator funds in North Carolina a year ago, handling more than $2.4 million to cover the expenses of 219 navigators across the state. If there is an imbalance of high-risk customers among companies, the government uses a formula to redistribute money from less-burdened companies to more-burdened ones.

Three programs in The Affordable Care Act endeavored at minimizing the risk to the insurers as they explored the risky markets.

"Applicants will also be encouraged to demonstrate how they provide information to people who may be unaware of the range of available coverage options in addition to qualified health plans (QHPs), such as association health plans, short-term, limited-duration insurance, and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs)", CMS said. That was incorrect. Federal law requires insurers to pay into the pool, but the money is from the companies, not the federal government.

These "association health plans" are just one more facet of Trump's Obamacare sabotage, cheap plans with limited coverage meant to draw healthy people out of the Obamacare markets. They assisted 42% of enrollees, the agency said.

Earlier this week, the administration said it would half funding to a "risk adustment" program that reimburse health insurers that covered individual with more expensive medical conditions. The CMS has appealed the decision, particularly because a MA court upheld such payments.

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The funding cuts follow CMS's announcement that it would no longer pay subsidize insurers who enroll large numbers of unhealthy people, a move that insurers and ACA advocates said would drive up premiums.

"Investors should read headlines about the delay in risk adjustment payments cautiously", she said. "CMS has asked the court to reconsider its ruling, and hopes for a prompt resolution that allows CMS to prevent more adverse impacts on Americans who receive their insurance in the individual and small group markets".

Health insurers warn that a move by the Trump administration on Saturday to temporarily suspend a program that was set to pay out $10.4 billion to insurers for covering high-risk individuals previous year could drive up premium costs and create marketplace uncertainty. "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". This introduces uncertainty into the ACA markets just as insurers are deciding next year's rates. Rate filings by CT health insurers for 2019 are due next week. The Republican Congress failed to repeal it, so the Trump administration has redoubled its efforts to gut it. "There is a need to analyze insurers case-by-case and account for their competitive landscapes", said Tinglong Dai, an associate professor of operations management and business analytics at the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School.

So the suspension of risk adjustment payments could throw the rate-filing process into chaos, said Cynthia Fox, director of health reform and private insurance at Kaiser Family Foundation.

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