Trump administration cuts grants to help people get Obamacare

Glen Mclaughlin
July 15, 2018

The agency once again defended the decrease by saying that navigators, which usually hail from non-profit and community organizations, are not effective.

A federal judge in D.C. In January a federal court in MA ruled the formula wasn't arbitrary and capricious.

The leader of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said that the organization has the legal reason required to proceed with the payments irrespective of the New Mexico ruling.

Every action the Trump administration has taken on Obamacare suggests that's their goal.

The ambiguity involved in the conflicting New Mexico and MA rulings may mean the suspension of payments will indeed be temporary. The agencies in a statement said that they were seeking legal redress and understanding and will be informing all the involved participants of any bring up-to-date information regarding the current collections or future payments at the right time. "There was initial panic after the announcement, but the technical problems can be worked out". About a third of states have filed so far. Some companies that had expected hundreds of millions of dollars in risk-adjustment payments fear the funds may fall through, while others that had expected to owe hundreds of millions wonder if they may be off the hook. Initial reports of sky-high premium increases have been offset somewhat by more recent reports of moderate increases, according to data from Kaiser Family Foundation. Her insurer, Oscar, is boosting rates again for 2019, and Williams is slated to see an increase to $518.33 for a low-level bronze plan. "There is a need to analyze insurers case-by-case and account for their competitive landscapes", said Tinglong Dai, an associate professor of operations management and business analytics at the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School. That's because many ACA customers will qualify for federal government premium subsidies, which are still alive and well in Obamacare.

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"Given the continued attacks on health care, including federal rules allowing the resurgence of low-priced, junk health insurance plans, such as "association health plans" and "short-term plans", consumers looking for good, comprehensive coverage could be easily confused", said Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA, a left-leaning advocacy organization.

Whatever happens with the risk adjustment payments, it looks as if many exchange consumers will be left to figure out their options for 2019 on their own. The counselors, known as navigators, help consumers find an affordable health plan on the ACA exchanges. Administration officials tout these plans as more affordable, but they're cheaper because they don't have to meet the ACA's requirements for decent health plans, like including maternity care and prescription drug coverage, and charging the same rate for people with preexisting conditions.

"I have not heard any of this", said Catherine Edwards, executive director of the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging, which has spread navigator money to groups across that state and took a 62 percent cut in funding previous year.

CareSource, which will offer insurance in 79 of Indiana's 92 counties in 2019, would have gone from being a net receiver of money from the pool to paying about $16 million a year to other insurers - that is, until the freeze went into effect.

CMS now wants the navigators to promote these policies in addition to steering people toward ACA-compliant plans and Medicaid.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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