The analysis released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that mixed signals from President Donald Trump have created uncertainty "far outside the norm" and led insurers to seek higher premium increases for 2018 than would otherwise have been the case.
Researchers say most insurers are uncertain about what possible changes the trump white house will bring to the program.
In one of the more concrete examples of the impact the Trump administration is having on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, a new analysis reveals that the vast majority of exchange insurers mentioned regulatory uncertainty in their 2018 rate filings. The payments are now the subject of a lawsuit filed by House Republicans that was appealed by the Obama administration, and if Trump drops the appeal the payments will stop. Where these factors are addressed explicitly in rate filings, insurers that have assumed that the individual mandate will not be enforced have factored in additional rate increases of 1.2 to 20 percent, while those that have assumed the cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) will not be paid have factored in an additional 2 to 23 percent.
The Trump administration said that insurers were hiking premiums and leaving the market before they took charge, which is why Obamacare must be repealed and replaced.
Spokeswoman Alleigh Marre said rising premiums and dwindling choices predate Trump.
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The findings are based on insurer filings in almost two dozen major cities and they could change over the next few weeks.
Other insurers indicated they'd raise their rates beyond their initial request - by 3 to 10 percent if cost-sharing subsidy payments end or the question remains unresolved, according to the analysis.
For states that use the federal ACA marketplace, rates must be finalized by August 16. "Based on initial filings, the change in benchmark silver premiums will likely range from -5 percent to 49 percent across these 21 major cities", the report states.
Most Obamacare enrollees, however, won't feel these rate hikes. Next year, a single adult earning $30,000 a year will pay $201 a month for coverage regardless of the sticker price. At stake is the fate of the exchanges and the 10 million Americans who receive coverage through the exchanges, and in particular the 6.7 million people who purchase individual insurance on or off the exchanges without subsidies.