IN THE NEWS: Indiana healthcare rates could rise by as much as 40 percent unless Republicans stop ACA sabotage

INDIANAPOLIS – As Republicans continue to wreak havoc on the health care system, Hoosiers may face sharp increases in health insurance premiums when insurers announce rates for the Indiana market this week. Under normal circumstances, premiums might only increase by as little as two percent, the Indy Star reported Friday. But thanks to Republican-created uncertainty, including a lawsuit by congressional Republicans to stop subsidy payments to insurers and issues stemming from the Republican healthcare overhaul that Congressmen Rokita and Messer supported, premiums may rise by as much as 40 percent. If rates skyrocket when announced by the June 21 deadline, Hoosiers will have no one to blame but Republicans.

From the Indy Star: Health insurer for Obamacare in Indiana warns of higher rates without subsidies

WASHINGTON — CareSource, one of the four insurance companies selling Obamacare plans on Indiana’s health exchange, may need to raise rates a modest 2 percent next year.

But if the Trump administration shuts off subsidies that help low-income customers cover expenses, rates will go up at least 15 percent, the company estimates.

And CareSource is not likely to know what the administration will do before having to meet Wednesday’s deadline to file its proposed rate increases with the state.

“The window is quickly closing to properly price individual insurance products for 2018,” CareSource President and CEO Pamela Morris wrote this month in a letter to Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.

As Republicans continue to work on legislation to rewrite the ACA, including changes that would affect the more than 170,000 Hoosiers who purchase plans through the exchange, insurance companies have to decide now whether to continue to sell plans — and at what cost.

Anthem, the largest seller of marketplace plans in Indiana, said this past week it’s pulling out of Ohio’s market at the end of the year. But Anthem hasn’t said what it will do in Indiana. President and CEO Joseph Swedish has been saying for months that uncertainty about federal policy requires Anthem to “re-evaluate our approach to filing 2018 rates.”

If that uncertainty remains, insurers could submit increases as high as 40 percent with more than two-thirds of that related to questions about the subsidies and whether the Trump administration will enforce the requirement that most people have insurance, according to a recent actuarial analysis by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

The actuaries estimated that only between 5 percent and 8 percent of rate increases would be due to rising health care costs. Insurers also are likely to factor in a 3 percent increase to make up for reinstatement of a tax on health insurers imposed by the Affordable Care Act that was temporarily suspended.

“Insurers need to know the rules for next year,” tweeted Cynthia Cox, associate director of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health research group. “The White House and Congress have the tools to make the market work or to make it collapse.”

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