Saturday, 20 July, 2019

Trump administration halts billions in insurance payments under Obamacare

Trump administration freezes Obamacare payments, citing court decision Report: WH Suspends $10.4B in Obamacare Insurer Payments
Gustavo Carr | 11 July, 2018, 05:23

"As a result of this litigation, billions of dollars in risk adjustment payments and collections are now on hold", she said. "We are very discouraged by the new market disruption brought about by the decision to freeze risk adjustment payments", America's Health Insurance Plans said in a statement.

In January this year, the federal district judge in MA upheld the methodology used by the federal government to calculate risk adjustment payments. "It will undermine Americans' access to affordable care, particularly for those who need medical care the most".

The move should not have been unexpected given the administration's disdain for other provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), leading to the elimination of other key taxpayer-funded subsidies and the outright eradication of the individual mandate through this past winter's tax cut legislation.

"We were disappointed by the court's recent ruling", said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. The CMS, which noted that a federal court in MA found its formula fair, has asked the New Mexico court to reconsider its decision and said it is seeking a quick resolution to the legal issue.

This risk adjustment program was created to "stabilize" the insurance markets by making sure that there were several companies in each market vying for customers, thus theoretically keeping premiums reasonable.

Reuters' characterization of the move is that "President Donald Trump's administration has used its regulatory powers to undermine Obamacare after the Republican-controlled Congress previous year failed to repeal and replace the law". Many agree-Democrats and Republicans-that a person with a pre-existing condition needs health insurance coverage and should not be denied on that fact.

How to use Netflix’s new ‘Smart Downloads’ feature
If for some reason you don't want Netflix to do the deletion and downloading for you, Smart Downloads can be turned off. Netflix has improved its episode downloading functionality with the launch of its new Smart Downloads feature.

The elimination of risk adjustment funds also comes as Maryland officials await a decision from CMS on another funding mechanism they believe would help stabilize the market and provide money to insurers to help pay for expensive patients.

It could also encourage more insurers to bow out of Obamacare.

More: Health care will define the midterms. The insurers have requested average rate increases for 2019 that range from 18.5 percent to 91.4 percent, depending on the type of plan.

A professor who follows Obamacare said it is unclear if the payments' suspension will result in higher premiums.

"It has caused insurer collapses and market exits that reduced competition". "It is important to keep in mind that the original risk adjustment payments are budget-neutral such that for some insurers to win, other insurers have to lose".

New Mexico Health Connections and Minuteman Health of MA, two small nonprofit insurers, filed lawsuits in 2016, contending that the Obama administration created an inaccurate formula that unfairly rewarded large insurers.