Report Says Changes Will Increase Health Premiums

May 21, 2018

Premiums for health insurance plans sold on the federal marketplace are expected to increase by nearly 16.9 percent in Florida next year due to changes in the Affordable Care Act, according to a new analysis released Friday.

Released by the Center for American Progress, the analysis estimates that a decision by Congress and President Donald Trump to repeal the mandate that people buy health insurance, coupled with proposed changes to the types of policies that can be sold, will increase premiums for Floridians by $1,011.

The report by the left-leaning group estimates that the average unsubsidized health insurance premium for a 40-year-old male buying a marketplace policy in 2019 will be $6,995.

The Affordable Care Act has provided subsidies for many people buying coverage, reducing their costs. More than. 1.7 million Floridians enrolled in the health insurance marketplace this year, with more than 1.5 million receiving subsidies either in the form of advanced premium tax credits or additional cost-sharing reductions that help lower co-payments and co-insurance requirements.

The new analysis accounts for the impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that individuals buy health-insurance policies as well as a Trump administration proposed rule to rescind limits on the sale of short-term insurance plans.

The individual mandate, one of the most-controversial parts of the federal health-care law commonly known as Obamacare, was repealed as part of a tax overhaul that passed in December.

In a prepared statement, Topher Spiro, vice president for health policy at the Center for American Progress, blasted Trump and Congress for what he called “sabotage of the insurance marketplaces.”

“First they passed massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and now they’re asking middle-class Americans and people with pre-existing conditions to pick up the tab,” Spiro said. “They should be focused on lowering health care costs, not increasing them and intentionally undermining the stability of the insurance marketplaces that millions of Americans benefit from.”

The analysis came a day after Florida Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to Gov Rick Scott urging him to take steps to protect Floridians from spikes in health insurance premiums. They also asked that Scott — who adamantly opposes the Affordable Care Act — require health plans to provide for essential health benefits, like hospital care or prescription drugs, and raised concerns that consumers could end up buying low-benefit plans.

“These junk plans would return patients to the days where only upon illness did they discover their plans imposed limits on coverage and excluded vital benefits,” said the letter, signed by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, Congresswoman Kathy Castor and 10 other Democratic members of the delegation. Nelson faces an election challenge in November from Scott.

The letter asked Scott to work with state Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier to take steps to make sure consumers are kept safe. Democrats also asked that Scott consider investing in outreach and enrollment efforts and help provide funding to navigators who can connect patients with the federal marketplace. Floridians buy coverage through the federal marketplace because the state decided against setting up its own exchange.

John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, said the governor’s office received the letter, adding that “Congress hasn’t controlled the nation’s health care costs or passed a balanced budget in decades.”

by Christine Sexton, The News Service of Florida


6 Responses to “Report Says Changes Will Increase Health Premiums”

  1. Denny on May 23rd, 2018 1:42 pm

    Bob, left leaning or not, common sense tells us that without the mandate, healthy people will not buy insurance. Premiums will increase to cover the costs incurred by sicker people using the insurance more.

  2. FaithinUS on May 22nd, 2018 12:30 pm

    Rodney, ‘High premiums mean lower it of pocket and vice versa’ used to be true. Now, my High Deductible + 20%copay policy costs a full 50% more than a better plan we used to get thru my employer just a couple years ago.
    The Republicans have done everything they can think of to cause the Affordable Care Act to fail, and they do not give one flying rat’s patooty that we go broke paying for healthcare because of their actions. It’s all just a big middle finger to Obama for them.

  3. Rodney on May 21st, 2018 12:50 pm

    Why do they have to make it complicated? High premiums mean lower it of pocket and vice versa. The fact that more had health coverage is not debatable but how much of their medical expenses were absorbed by health providers because they couldn’t pay the bills. The only ones who support Obamacare are the Obama supporters. Anyone in the healthcare industry was not in favor of the system.

  4. Bob Dandridge on May 21st, 2018 12:02 pm

    Key words “left leaning group”. Let’s wait and see what happens. The left has been unrelenting in it’s attempts to smear and damage the GOP. Don’t blame the President for the some lefties prediction. God knows we came so close to mandated socialism as it is.

  5. David Huie Green on May 21st, 2018 11:56 am

    As long as medical care is expensive, paying for it will be expensive.

    The only practical solution will be to automate as much of it as possible, needing fewer people making fewer mistakes.

    David for autodocs

  6. CW on May 21st, 2018 6:18 am

    They need to just go ahead and make Medicare for all and be done with it! If someone wants more than that they can buy a supplemental policy on their own dime.

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