As Trump And Congress Flip-Flop On Health Care, Insurers Try To Plan Ahead

As insurance companies make key decisions about what health insurance plans they will offer in 2018, there is little clarity from Washington about whether the government will continue to provide subsidies.

As insurance companies make key decisions about what health insurance plans they will offer in 2018, there is little clarity from Washington about whether the government will continue to provide subsidies.

As Republicans in Congress debate changes to the Affordable Care Act, insurance executives across the country are trying to make plans for next year.

Companies that sell policies on the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, face fast-approaching deadlines to inform states about what plans they want to sell, and what they intend to charge.

“Insurance companies need to file rates in 2 1/2 months,” says Tom Policelli, CEO of Minuteman Health, which sells Obamacare policies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

“So basically we’ve got four to six weeks to figure out some basic things that will help all of us in the industry to have more surety and stability, so we can price our premiums lower,” he says.

To make those decisions, companies want to know whether the law is going to change altogether, something Republicans in the House have tried, failed to do and are trying again this week.

At minimum, insurers would like to know whether the Trump administration intends to continue making crucial payments to insurers that are required under the law.

On Wednesday the president seemed to agree to continue those payments, known as cost-sharing subsidies, but Thursday he tweeted that he would not “give billions to insurance companies.”

“The current debate is largely not helpful, and is heading things in a direction that will make things even worse,” Policelli says.

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Article source: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/04/27/525754974/as-trump-and-congress-flip-flop-on-health-care-insurers-try-to-plan-ahead?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=affordablecareact

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