SACRAMENTO, Calif. April 28, 2017- Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones announced today that he has authorized health insurers filing rates with the Department of Insurance to file two sets of rates, in light of the market instability created by President Trump’s continued undermining of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Despite the likelihood that health insurers will have to increase rates due to Trump Administration actions, Jones encouraged health insurers to file a second set of rates premised on continued enforcement of the Affordable Care Act, in the hope that President Trump might reverse course and stop undermining the Affordable Care Act.
The actions of the Trump Administration to undermine enforcement of the ACA’s individual mandate and the failure of President Trump and Republican House leaders to ensure funding of the Cost-Sharing Reductions in the Affordable Care Act have created immense uncertainly and instability for 2018’s health insurance market.
Affordability and availability of health insurance coverage are both threatened by the actions of President Trump and Republicans in Congress. Next week health insurers will submit preliminary proposed rates for 2018 to state regulators and Covered California.
“The Trump Administration and House Republican Leaders continue to undermine the Affordable Care Act, creating instability in health insurance markets and causing health insurers to have to increase rates for the 2018 market,” said Commissioner Jones. “Given the actions by President Trump and House Republican leaders, I have taken the unprecedented step of authorizing health insurers to file more than one set of proposed rates for2018-one assuming the ACA is enforced and funded and the other assuming that President Trump and House Republican leaders continue to undermine or repeal the law and cause unnecessary premium increases.”
The California Department of Insurance receives preliminary health insurance rate filings for individual market products on May 1 of each year for the following calendar year. These proposed rates are also provided to Covered California for those products that insurers or health plans intend to sell through Covered California. Due to all the uncertainty at the federal level regarding enforcement of the individual mandate, availability of risk adjustment payments to insurers, and the status of Cost-Sharing Reduction funding, Commissioner Jones has notified health insurers in California that they may file more than one set of proposed rates for 2018.
Insurers have been encouraged to file rates assuming that the ACA is enforced and funded as well as rates they are filing that are based on all the uncertainty in the market due to undermining of the ACA by the Trump Administration and House Republican Leaders. Insurers have been asked to submit rate information about how rates will differ if the individual mandate is not enforced and if the federal funding for Cost-Sharing Reductions is not provided.
Commissioner Jones wrote to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senator Alexander last January to explain not only why repeal of the ACA would be devastating to the millions of Americans who have benefited from the ACA, but that failure to set the rules for the health insurance market for 2018 in early 2017 would create instability that would likely result in significant premium increases or even exit from the market by some insurers.
In recent weeks, Commissioner Jones wrote to President Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy about how their actions and failures to act are harming the 2018 health insurance markets.