Seventy-four health plans were filed for Washington State’s 2019 individual and family health insurance market. The average rate increase across the plans is 19.08%. Eleven insurers filed the plans. There will be no counties without insurers for 2019, though 14 will only have one option. You can read more here.
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The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that ACA premiums will rise by 15% in 2019, mainly due to the repeal of the individual mandate which takes effect the same year. They also predict that a total of 35 million people under the age of 65 will be uninsured by 2027. For more information please see CNN and CNBC.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will not approve lifetime limits for Medicaid coverage previously requested by multiple states. This continued stance breaks with conservatives who support setting caps for how long an individual can receive Medicaid benefits. For more information please see The Hill.
HHS Secretary, Alex Azar, came out in defense of the Trump Administration’s plan to lower prescription drug prices. For more information please see The Washington Post.
On Friday, May 11th the Trump Administration unveiled its plan to lower prescription drug prices. The proposal allows for more negotiation for Medicare drug prices through Part D drug plans. Additionally, the plan hopes to create more competition in the drug industry, expedite the availability of generic drugs, and reduce the amount paid to middlemen. No timeline for the implementation of the plan has been provided. For more information please see The Washington Post.
Multiple house democrats came together to urge Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to schedule a vote on the measure to stabilize the ACA. For more information please see The Hill.
Health & Human Services is attempting to make it easier for Medicare patients to view and understand the prices for procedures from hospitals. This change will hopefully be achieved through updates to Medicare payment rules, essentially how Medicare pays hospitals. For more information please see The Washington Post.
Currently plans on the WA Healthplanfinder come with a monthly carrier fee of $7.46. Starting with all 2019 plans this fee will be reduced to $3.46. The reduction in this fee is attributed to the record number of people who signed up for individual plans for 2018 as well as changes in operations. For more information please see The Spokesman-Review.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) disclosed recently that it plans to reduce its support of the ACA Federal Exchanges in 2019 and move funding to states. First Congress must repeal the ACA. For more information please see Fierce Healthcare.
The Trump Administration has issued new rules regarding the ACA Individual Mandate that take effect immediately. (The repeal of the Individual Mandate will not take place until 2019.) The new rules include a hardship exemption as well as an exception for those who oppose abortion where the only plans offered cover the procedure. For more information please see The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The AP.