Trump to pay key Obamacare subsidy in August

Drive against law has left some insurers jittery


The Trump administration has agreed to pay insurers a key Obamacare subsidy this month, the White House announced Tuesday.

President Trump has threatened to end the payments, which would throw insurers and the exchanges into chaos for next year. The uncertainty has prompted many carriers to request big premium hikes for 2018 and others to downsize or exit the market.

The Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday that ending the payments next year would cause rates to soar 20% in 2018.


Insurers would have hiked premiums on Obamacare silver plans by 20% next year if Trump had stopped funding a key set of subsidies, according to a Congressional Budget Office report released Tuesday.

The agency's projection, which based its estimates on how premiums would compare to current law, is in line with other analyses that looked at what would have happened if Trump had followed through on his threats to cease the payments for the cost-sharing subsidies.

Though there have been signs that Obamacare is stabilizing, the Republican drive to dismantle the health care law has left insurers very jittery. In particular, they want assurances that the cost-sharing subsidies will be funded through 2018.

Without that promise, many are hiking their rates. Insurers that assumed the cost-sharing subsidy payments would be discontinued added between 2% and 23% to their premium requests for next year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 21 major cities released last week.

Other insurers aren't waiting around to find out. Anthem is among the most recent to downsize its presence, announcing last week it was pulling out of Nevada and Virginia, while cutting its participation in Georgia nearly in half.