A report by the Urban Institute concluded that 2019 insurance premiums, on average, will likely increase by 18.2% in 43 states. This news comes in the wake of President Trump passing a $1.3 trillion spending bill last week that left out benefit provisions which employers and individuals hoped would stabilize the healthcare marketplace. The repeal earlier this year of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that all individuals must have health insurance further amplifies these expectations.
Senior Vice President of Health Policy for the American Benefits Council, Ilyse Schuman, said earlier this month “Destabilization increases uncompensated care, resulting in cost-shifting from healthcare providers to large employer payers.” The American Benefits Council, consisting of business, insurance and benefits groups, worked closely with Congress in hopes of mitigating the damage of the cost-sharing reductions funding which was cut by President Trump last year.
Employee Benefits News reports that the $30 billion market stabilization package that was originally part of the spending bill — which included appropriations for cost-sharing reduction subsidies, federal money for state reinsurance programs and additional state flexibility under ACA Section 1332 waivers — fell apart over abortion provisions Democrats did not want included in the bill and the fact that Republicans did not want to prop up the ACA.
Additional studies and forecasts are on the horizon about the predicament of the healthcare market. Premium increases for next year will begin trickling in as we approach Fall and employers and individuals begin navigating open enrollment periods. Moreover, the topic of healthcare will likely continue being at the forefront in the 2018 midterm elections.