Delay in court case deepens health insurance uncertainty

Delay in court case deepens health insurance uncertainty

The U.S. Department of Justice and House Republicans made the joint request Monday as they "continue to discuss measures that would obviate the need for judicial determination of this appeal, including potential legislative action", such as the Obamacare replacement plan known as the American Health Care Act, according to a court filing. We could be on track for a wave of revisions in late summer and early fall should the Trump administration not provide any additional clarity on their plans. "Congress could resolve any uncertainty about the payments by passing the AHCA and reforming Obamacare's failed funding structure".

"It is the single most destabilizing factor in the individual market, and millions of Americans could soon feel the impact of fewer choices, higher costs and reduced access to care".

Since the policy implications and the consequences involved in this decision have been clear for a long time, you have to figure the "delay" is a thinly veiled effort to mess with Obamacare without admitting it.

The prolonged indecision comes at a critical time for insurers, who are trying to finalize their proposed premiums for 2018.

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Insurers in a handful of states - Maryland, Connecticut and OR - as well as in the District of Columbia already are asking for double-digit percentage increases in premiums next year, with the uncertainty of the subsidies playing a factor in those prices.

"Don't let insurers hold Americans hostage for cost-sharing payments": "For insurers to assume that the cost-sharing reduction payments would continue through 2017, let alone 2018, required them to ignore 1) public warnings in articles like mine; 2) Collyer's ruling; 3) the fact that President Obama would leave office on January 20, 2017; and 4) the apparent silence from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during last year's campaign on whether they would continue the cost-sharing reduction payments once in office".

Finally, conservatives and the Trump administration should shine a bright light on state insurance commissioners' review of premium submissions.

In response, more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia filed a last-ditch motion last week to intervene in the lawsuit, arguing the executive branch was not adequately defending its authority to make the payments and does not represent their interests.

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The ruling was stayed pending an appeal - one the Trump administration has allowed to chug along instead of withdrawing it and cutting off the payments, which are created to cover the shortfall insurers incur by covering low-income customers' out-of-pocket costs. About 7.1 million of the 12.2 million people who signed up for ACA plans for 2017 were eligible for the extra help.

As a bargaining chip with Democrats, President Trump has threatened to end the subsidies that reduce co-pays and deductibles for lower-income consumers.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, of California, criticized the threats to stop the payments.

The decision leaves insurers questioning whether they would still be reimbursed for the payments as they file their premium rate requests for next year. Congress could eliminate the problem by authorizing the spending, but has refused to do so. In April, they would only commit to one more month's payment, and declined to comment on exactly what payment they referred to when pressed. Credit Suisse analyst Scott Fidel said that insurers such as Centene Corp and Molina Healthcare Inc that focus on the low-income families that qualify for these subsidies have the most at risk.

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