Trump poised to make crucial decision on Obamacare subsidies

Also, major insurers such as Aetna, Anthem, and Cigna have left many state exchanges because they have consistently lost money as more sick patients buy their plans.
By Kristy Douglas | Aug 03, 2017
President Trump will decide this week whether to continue funding for subsidies that modest-income Americans can use to buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway told Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday. Health-insurance companies await this decision, according to analysts, as it will impact significantly whether they will stay on the exchanges or leave them.

The federal government has been paying out $7 billion in these subsidies a year to insurers who participate in the exchanges. The recipient insurers use them to offset the costs of enrolling more and more customers who have pre-existing health complications and require expensive care.

Approximately seven million American adults qualify for these subsidies. Without the subsidies, adding this many customers with present health complications to the insurance rosters would cost them exorbitant amountsin some markets, insurers have raised premiums by 20% or more on customers to offset the rising costs.

Also, major insurers such as Aetna, Anthem, and Cigna have left many state exchanges because they have consistently lost money as more sick patients buy their plans.

Anthem is now planning to exit most of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana in 2018. It may leave more exchanges in other states if Trump cuts off the subsidies, Anthem CEO Joe Swedish suggested last week.

"If we aren't able to gain certainty on some of these items quickly, we do expect that we will need to revise our rate filings to further narrow our level of participation," Swedish said. "That said, we are closely monitoring state and federal legislative and regulatory developments."

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