The health-care industry is asking for a two-year commitment of funds from the U.S. Senate’s health committee as a bipartisan group of legislators begins work Wednesday and Thursday to fix the individual insurance market under the Affordable Care Act.
Lobbies for health insurance companies, doctors and big business are asking the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to provide more stability than the Donald Trump White House, which has paid for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) on a month-to-month basis.
Without CSRs, Obamacare customers face cost increases of 20%-25% or more, insurers say . And hospitals have said they expect unpaid bills to begin piling up faster than they already are.
“We urge the committee to include continuous funding for CSR benefits for at least the next two years (2018-2019) as part of bipartisan legislation to stabilize the individual market,” the health-care lobbies, led by America’s Health Insurance Plans, wrote to Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and Patty Murray (D-Washington) in a letter issued Tuesday. “Without two years of CSR funding, uncertainty will persist, and the Congress will need to address these same issues early next year.”
The lack of a commitment on CSRs has led some insurers like Anthem and Molina Healthcare to scale back their individual offerings in certain states under the ACA. Aetna, UnitedHealth Group and Humana have also complained of an unstable individual insurance market in deciding to pull individual products off the exchange after being unable to successfully manage health costs of sick patients who had bought Obamacare policies.