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Report: States could see average health premium increases up to 30%

A new report has found that every state is at risk of higher than
average premium increases in health insurance in 2019.
The report, “Major Indicators of Individual Market Stability
Highlight High Premium Increases for States in Coming Years,”
believes that these increases are driven by continued policy
changes and uncertainty at the federal level.

If the federal government does not address the current health
insurance environment, the report estimated premium increases
across the country could range between 12% and 32% in 2019.
The Covered California-sponsored study also projected a
cumulative total increase of between 36% and 94% by 2021.

“The challenges to our healthcare system are threatening to have
real consequences for millions of Americans,” commented
Covered California executive director Peter V. Lee. “The prospect
of 30% premium increases in 2019 and hikes of over 90% over
the next three years will threaten the access to coverage for
millions of Americans.”

The report also identifies ways to address the risks causing the
premium increases.
“We project that a nationwide reinsurance program with annual
funding of $15 billion could result in average premium reductions
of 16% to 18%,” said Milliman consulting actuary Robert Cosway.

“Lower premiums would impact both consumers and the
amounts that the federal government pays in the form of tax
credits. The marginal cost of the reinsurance program would be
much lower than $15 billion when you consider the reduction in
the cost of the federal government’s tax credit payments.”

Other solutions proposed include: providing direct federal funding
for the required cost-sharing reduction subsidies, increasing
spending in federal marketplace states on marketing, and passing
state policies to promote enrollment or protect consumers from
insurance with huge coverage gaps.

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