Trump admin cuts funding to program that aids ACA enrollment

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At the end of the year, President Trump signed the tax reform bill into law, which repealed the individual mandate imposing a fine on those who don't buy health insurance; that will go into effect in 2019.

The Hubs for Medicare & Medicaid Services alleged in an announcement made over the weekend that it was stopping the resolution after a state district law court in New Mexico concluded in February that the expenses incurred based on faulty regulations. These alternative plans don't have to provide all of the Affordable Care Act's consumer protections. They assisted 42% of enrollees, the agency said. More will lose their insurance this year with this latest attack on the ACA.

The president last fall issued an executive order to try to make it easier for individuals and small businesses to buy health plans that cost less than ACA coverage because they cover fewer services and bypass rules meant to protect people from previous practices in which insurers charged higher prices to women, older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions. "It's time for the navigator program to evolve, which is why we are announcing a new direction for the program today", said CMS administrator Seema Verma. "ORCRP001017-topic.html" class="local_link" >Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp., referred to the AHIP statement when asked about the impact of the federal payment interruption.

The agency once again defended the decrease by saying that navigators, which usually hail from non-profit and community organizations, are not effective.

America's Health Insurance Plans, another large industry group, declined to comment.

This is distinct from the debate over ObamaCare's cost-sharing payments, which the Trump Administration cut off a year ago after a federal judge barred the subsidies that Congress had not appropriated. The ACA also prohibits insurers from rejecting applicants with pre-existing conditions and from charging older people exorbitantly high rates because they are higher financial risks.

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A federal court ruling in New Mexico found the administration did not properly justify its formula for dispensing the funds. If that doesn't happen, some insurers may need to boost their premiums for 2019, she said.

The cost of any increase in premiums that results from the risk adjustment payments may come from taxpayer dollars. Rate filings by CT health insurers for 2019 are due next week.

For the past five years, when insurance has been available through ACA marketplaces for people who do not have access to affordable health benefits through a job, federal health officials have started every spring working with navigator groups on plans for the coming enrollment season.

Technically, the administration has only suspended risk adjustment payments, not permanently ended them.

The most radical plan drafted by congressional Republicans last year-known as the Graham-Cassidy bill after two of its authors, Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana)-would basically eliminate the ACA's private insurance marketplaces as well as Medicaid expansion, replacing them with lower-funded state block grants with few strings attached.

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