WA Exchange Lowering Fees for 2019 Plans

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.

New Rules Exempting Consumers from ACA Individual Mandate Effective Immediately

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.

2018 ACA Enrollment Only Slightly Lower From 2017

11.8 million people enrolled in ACA plans for 2018, down only 400,000 from 2017. First-time enrollment was down 4%. In states like WA that run their own exchanges, the enrollment remained the same from 2017. These numbers come as a surprise to some since the open enrollment window was cut in half and federal outreach efforts were greatly reduced. For more information please see The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

ACA Stabilization Legislation Fails

Attempted ACA stabilization legislation has failed after seven months of bipartisan partnership between Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn). This ends any chance of stabilizing the health care law this year. Please see Politico for more information.

Proposal to Approve Cost-Sharing Reductions Considered by House GOP

House Republican leaders are considering a complicated budget action that would pay for additional ACA funding. Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs) are payments from the ACA to health insurance carriers. CSRs are currently part of the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) baseline. Removing the CSRs from the baseline would allow the CBO to deem any future payments as savings for the government. Please see The Hill for additional information.

Access to Association Health Plans Analysis: More Uninsured & Higher Premiums

A new analysis from Avalere Health, a health consulting firm, estimates that opening up access to Association Health Plans (AHPs), as proposed by the Trump administration, would result in higher premiums and increase the number of uninsured Americans. Over 3 million individuals would shift from ACA plans impacting the remaining individuals on ACA plans with premium increases of up to 3.5% by 2022. Please see The Hill for more information.