Chesterton Tribune



Donnelly responds to projected spikes in premiums in health insurance market

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U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., released the following statement on Thursday after Centene and CareSource filed their 2019 plans for Indiana's health insurance marketplace, with a proposed average premium increase of 5.1 percent.

Centene has stated that it plans to offer coverage in all 92 counties with some plans in Central Indiana counties expected to see a 5.4 percent, according to the statement, while CareSource is expected to offer plans in 79 counties with an average premium increase of 10.2 percent, including a 33.6 percent increase for some plans in Allen County.

Both Centene and CareSource suggested that premiums would have been lower if not for actions by the Trump Administration and some in Congress.

“After insurance companies filed their proposed individual market plans for 2019, it's clear that some Hoosiers could see higher premiums and these rate hikes are unwelcome news,” Donnelly said. “These health care cost increases are unnecessarily being driven by the Administration's continued and deliberate efforts to undermine the marketplaces. As I've repeatedly said, we should be working to make quality health care more affordable, and I remain open and ready to partner on bipartisan efforts that will improve our health care system.”

“Both public and private analyses show that the Trump Administration's sabotage strategy and the efforts by some in Congress to repeal the health care law have continued to destabilize the insurance markets and are again expected to increase costs for Hoosiers,” the statement said. “The tax law, which President Trump signed into law late last year, is projected to cause 13 million more Americans to be uninsured and raise health insurance premiums by 10 percent.”

Donnelly has heard from insurers currently offering health care coverage in Indiana and from patients groups, all concerned about the instability in the marketplace and the negative impact it is having consumers' premiums.

CareSource cited the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the Administration's proposed rules on short-term junk plans as some of the factors it is considering when setting rates for 2019, and said “efforts to undermine the ACA have directly driven annual premium increases that have priced the desired healthcare coverage out of reach for many consumers.”

“Centene wrote to Senator Donnelly with similar concerns: “For 2019, challenges include the uncertainty linked with the repeal of the individual mandate penalty and the Administration's proposed lengthening of short-term, limited-duration insurance plans.” Speaking about the proposed short-term plan rule, Centene said, “consumers in ACA marketplaces will likely face higher premiums as the overall health of that risk pool is compromised.”

Donnelly specifically pointed to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which repealed a fundamental health care provision without providing any replacement. As a result, the statement said, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will cause 13 million more Americans to be uninsured and will raise health insurance premiums by 10 percent.

The Trump Administration did propose a rule that would allow short-term, limited-duration insurance plans to be sold for up to 12 months. Currently, these off-market plans can only be sold for up to three months and “do not have to cover essential health benefits like mental health and prescription drugs. Coverage can also be denied based on pre-existing conditions or limited by the imposition of annual or lifetime caps.”

Earlier this month, Donnelly also noted, the Trump Administration argued in a federal court brief that pre-existing conditions coverage should be ruled unconstitutional, adding more uncertainty into the insurance marketplaces.



Posted 6/22/2018





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