Health care insurers in Idaho are blaming President Trump and his administration as the reason they are now requesting absurd premium rate hikes, as high as 81 percent, for 2018, according to the state’s Department of Insurance, which came out with its proposed rates on Monday.
Idaho’s insurance regulator says the Trump administration’s unwillingness to pay Obamacare insurers is the reason for the jump in premiums.
For all plans, the state’s six Obamacare insurers requested rates ranging from a low of 25 percent to a high of 51 percent, for a combined average statewide rate increase of 38 percent. However, the Silver Plan, which is the most popular of Obamacare’s three plan options, would take the biggest hit, with average rate hikes among all insurers at an even higher 50 percent and one insurer requesting the highest rate hike of a whopping 81 percent.
Insurers are required under law to lower co-pays and deductibles for lower-income Obamacare customers, and the government is supposed to reimburse them. However, amidst the backdrop of ongoing negotiations to repeal and replace the failing healthcare program, the Trump administration has not yet decided if it will make those payments in 2018.
“The premium requests for the Silver level plans reflect the cost of the CSR benefits, since the carrier is still obligated to provide the benefits regardless of whether or not the program is funded at the federal level,” according to the agency, which blames the higher rates on “the potential refusal by the federal government to fund the cost share reduction mechanism.”
It is common knowledge that President Trump now wants to let Obamacare implode after working for months on plans to repeal and replace it, adding to nothing when three senators, led by John McCain, decided to abandon the GOP ship.
The five insurers serving the individual market in Idaho include Blue Cross of Idaho Health Service, Mountain Health Co-Op, PacificSource Health Plans, Regence BlueShield of Idaho, and SelectHealth.
“I am deeply disappointed and frustrated to share these rates,” said Dean Cameron, who directs the department. “I understand how difficult it will be for Idahoans to afford reasonable coverage, especially those without a subsidy.”
He explained that premiums for the Silver plans are significantly higher due to the uncertainty of Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction program. “I call on Congress to either repeal the CSR requirement or fund the program,” Cameron stated. “That action alone would reduce the proposed increase by at least 20 percent on the Silver plans.”
Unlike other red states, Republican-run Idaho chose to create its own exchanges, but it did not take Medicaid expansion. The state invested in making Obamacare work, and, as a result, they’ve enrolled a good percentage of residents.
According to a report in the Daily Kos, “The anger on the part of Cameron, a former Republican state legislator, is real. At the same time, the state’s not in any danger of its congressional delegation doing a damned thing about this. However, this kind of criticism coming from a state like Idaho should make Republicans who maybe care about their jobs consider doing something before it gets much, much worse.”
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