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Insurers Left In Limbo As Deadline To File 2018 Rates Draws Ever Closer


"So basically we've got four to six weeks to figure out some basic things that will help all of us in the industry to have more surety and stability, so we can price our premiums lower," says Tom Policelli, CEO of Minuteman Health. At the very least, many insurers want to know if the subsidy payments Trump used as a negotiating threat will continue. 

NPR: Health Insurers Try To Plan Ahead As Congress Deliberates On Health Law
As Republicans in Congress debate changes to the Affordable Care Act, insurance executives across the country are trying to make plans for next year. Companies that sell policies on the exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, face fast-approaching deadlines to inform states about what plans they want to sell, and what they intend to charge. "Insurance companies need to file rates in 2 1/2 months," says Tom Policelli, CEO of Minuteman Health, which sells Obamacare policies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. (Kodjak, 4/27)

Politico Pro: Insurers Still Panicking Over Fate Of Obamacare Subsidies 
The Trump administration’s decision to back down on its threats to pull crucial subsidies for Obamacare’s low-income customers has alleviated the immediate threat to the ACA markets. But insurers and regulators say the persistent uncertainty surrounding the $7 billion in payments is causing massive headaches as health plans rapidly approach deadlines for the 2018 enrollment season. (Demko, 4/27)

In other health law news —

The Wall Street Journal: ‘Skinny’ Plans Can’t Trim The Real Fat Under New GOP Health Bill: Experts
In the latest version of their plan to repeal large portions of the Affordable Care Act, Republicans are proposing letting states opt out of the requirement that insurance plans cover a specific set of benefits. Republicans hope consumers could save money by buying “skinny” plans, excluding items they may not need such as maternity care. But many experts and studies indicate such changes might not drive down premiums very much, since insurance plans would still cover big, necessary items like hospital stays and doctor’s visits. (Hackman, 4/28)

The Wall Street Journal: How The Revised House GOP Health Bill Could Affect Consumers
House Republicans are trying to pass a health-insurance overhaul bill, and they may have new momentum from a recently negotiated amendment that has won over some conservative lawmakers. Here are some questions and answers about the bill. (Wilde Mathews, 4/27)

Modern Healthcare: ACA Repeal, Regulatory Reform Take Hold During Trump's 100 Days 
Trump's pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act by April 29—day 100—has dominated the political landscape and eclipsed virtually all other issues on the healthcare agenda. The president and GOP leadership suffered a major setback last month House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) opted to withdraw  the American Health Care Act before a scheduled vote. Although House leadership hoped a revised version of the AHCA would reach the floor for a vote on Friday or Saturday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said late Thursday night that wouldn't happen. The fractured GOP House majority will continue to negotiate a version of the AHCA they hope will be palatable to both moderates and the conservative Freedom Caucus, which supported the latest iteration. (Weinstock, 4/27)

San Francisco Chronicle: Covered California Premiums Could Soar If Feds Stop Enforcing ACA 
Premiums for health plans sold on Covered California, the insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act, could spike nearly 50 percent if the federal government stops enforcing two of the law’s key provisions that have been put in question under President Trump, according to a new analysis by Covered California and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The projected increase would apply to all health plans in California’s individual insurance market, which includes 1.3 million people who buy plans through Covered California as well as 1.1 million people who buy plans directly from insurers outside of the exchange. (Ho, 4/27)

Georgia Health News: Like The ACA Itself, Georgia Navigators Face Uncertain Future 
With talk of repeal in the air on Capitol Hill, tension is building for the navigators. A recent plan to scrap the ACA fell apart in the U.S. House, but congressional Republicans and President Trump say they are still committed to overhauling the current system. (Lichtenwalter, 4/27)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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