Would opening the door to cheaper, skimpier marketplace plans with higher deductibles and copays attract consumers and insurers to the exchanges next year? That’s what the Trump administration is betting on.
In February, the administration proposed a rule that would take a bit of the shine off bronze, silver, gold and platinum exchange plans by allowing them to provide less generous coverage while keeping the same metal level designation.
But consumer advocates and insurance experts say the proposal, which is subject to finalization later this year, fails on two fronts. It doesn’t address key concerns among insurers about plan design, and it might push consumers away from the exchanges because it could increase their out-of-pocket costs and reduce the amount they receive in tax credits for their health plan’s premiums.
The proposal is one of several rule changes the administration put forward to help stabilize the insurance marketplaces while Republicans work to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Repeal is at least temporarily off the table, after the failure of the Republicans’ replacement bill in late March. But insurers remain skittish about participating in the insurance marketplaces given the continuing uncertainty and mixed signals from the administration and Congress about how they will oversee the ACA.
By lowering the minimum coverage requirements — called a plan’s “actuarial value” — the proposed rule would let insurers offer plans with higher consumer out-of-pocket costs than are
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