Kreidler: Trump action signals continuing moves to harm individual health insurance

The Trump administration decided on Saturday, July 7, to suspend risk adjustment payments that were designed under the Affordable Care Act to provide stability to individual health insurance markets across the nation. The payments encouraged health insurers to enroll more consumers in plans and offered some financial help to cover the costs of individuals with higher medical care. Insurance Commissioner Kreidler offered the following statement.

”The Trump administration’s suspension of risk adjustment payments is just the latest attempt to undermine health care for millions of consumers across the country, including about 270,000 people enrolled in Washington state’s individual market. Without this program, insurers might have taken on less risk in the market, especially in rural counties.

“The timing of this suspension is a clear signal the administration intends to further increase instability. President Trump is imposing another uncertainty tax on consumers looking for health care.

“I fear this latest decision, if it stands, will lead to fewer choices for consumers and higher premiums they would pay for health plans in 2019. Insurers proposed rates in May. With suspension of the risk adjustment payments, insurers must now contend with another disruption to the market by the time they finalize rates early this fall. This is another act of sabotage by the administration.

“The administration already ended one program that helped keep premiums lower for consumers. It’s also taken other actions recently that will increase costs.

“It’s also taking legal action to abandon the protection for people with pre-existing conditions. All of these acts take direct aim at the heart of the Affordable Care Act and the viability of individual health insurance markets everywhere.

“The administration has failed miserably to live up to its promise of better health care, so now it’s taking a million cuts to undermine the market and harm consumers in the end.”