The Department of Health and Human Services recently asked for suggestions on ways to reduce the burdens of Obamacare.
But what health insurers and hospitals told them was that the administration should fund cost-sharing reduction subsidies (CSRs) that reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income people.
“The uncertainty over the program’s future has already had consequences on costs and choices in local markets,” America’s Health Insurance Plans said in their comment letter. “Without a strong commitment to CSRs, consumers will have fewer, if any plan choices for 2018, and options that remain in the market will have significantly higher premiums, which will make coverage unaffordable for millions of Americans.”
In addition, the HHS should continue to enforce the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate that penalizes people who don’t have qualified coverage “until legislative fixes are in place,” the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said. Those fixes include adequate funding for high-risk individuals and providing tax credits make coverage more affordable for young consumers.
Many of the other approximately 1,000 commenters took the opportunity to call for keeping the ACA. “Americans need healthcare coverage that’s there when they need it!” an unidentified Californian wrote. “Don’t weaken regulations that protect us!”
For its part, the HHS sent out its weekly notice showing that as of July 19, 40 counties where about 28,000 people are currently enrolled in ACA exchange plans may not have any issuers participating in 2018. As many as 2.3 million exchange participants in 1,332 counties – over 40 percent of counties nationwide – may have only one issuer, the HHS said.
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