Insurers get more time to finalize 2018 Obamacare premiums requests

Trump's threats have carriers nervous

By TAMI LUHBY
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - The Trump administration is giving insurers a few more weeks to revise their Obamacare rate requests for 2018.

The final filing date is now September 5, rather than August 16.

More time, however, is unlikely to calm carriers' jitters. Insurers want to know whether the Trump administration will continue to fund a key set of Obamacare subsidies and enforce the individual mandate. Many are asking for big rate hikes or are exiting the market completely because of the uncertainty of the health reform law's future under the Republicans.

Trump has recently threatened to cut off the payments for the cost-sharing subsidies, which reduce deductibles and co-pays for lower-income enrollees. These payments, which go directly to insurers, are the subject of a court battle between the House of Representatives and the Trump administration, which inherited the case from the Obama administration.

Carriers that assumed the cost-sharing subsidy payments would be discontinued added between 2% to 23% to their premium requests for next year, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 21 major cities released this week.

Insurers that assumed the individual mandate would not be enforced requested an additional 1.2% to 20%. The mandate requires nearly all Americans to get coverage or pay a penalty. It is key to drawing in younger and healthier consumers.

The two major industry lobbying groups either declined to comment or did not return an email requesting a response to the new deadline.

Insurers have until September 27 to commit to participating in the exchanges next year. Open enrollment starts November 1.

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