Most Nevadans won’t be affected by health care subsidies cuts | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Most Nevadans won’t be affected by health care subsidies cuts

Geoff Dornan | gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

The head of the Silver State Health Exchange says President Trump's decision to cancel Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies to insurance companies will impact few Nevadans who get insurance through the exchange.

"It will take time," said Heather Korbulac. "Those likely will not have an impact on 2018 plans but could have a potential impact in 2019."

She said those subsidies are used to lower out of pocket costs of customers receiving health care benefits. People eligible for them are those making between 138 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty level — $16,642 a year to $30,150 a year.

That group, she said, makes up about 80 percent of those getting benefits through the Silver State Exchange.

"Those customers probably don't even know they're getting them because they're given directly to the insurance company from the federal government to reduce the amount consumers pay," said Korbulac.

She said Trump's executive order says those payments won't be made for October, November and December of this year.

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She said in the future, the impact will be greatly reduced because, when the health plan rates go up in the future, so do the Advanced Premium Tax Credits the Affordable Care Act provides to lower monthly premiums paid by consumers. Those subsidies are separate from the CSR subsidies Trump wants to end and aren't being canceled since they're part of the ACA.

She said Nevada is ahead of the issue because, this year, the Insurance Commissioner and staff expected this to happen and allowed insurance carriers in the Silver State Exchange to raise rates to compensate. The net result, she said, is Nevada exchange consumers "will be minimally impacted if at all."

"What really happened here is in order to offset the loss of Cost Sharing Reductions, insurance companies have increased their premium rates," she said.

So Trump's decision to stop those payments just added to consumer confusion over the whole healthcare issue.

The unfortunate thing, she said, is the Advance Tax Premium Tax Credits cost the federal government much more than the CSR subsidies.

"So it's going to cost the federal government more money and doesn't serve to add stability to our already volatile marketplace."

Late Friday, the National Governor's Association issued a statement saying funding CSR subsidies "is a fundamental responsibility of the federal government to ensure the stability of insurance markets and health care affordability for state residents."

The NGA statement says the organization will intensify efforts to work with Congress to resume those payments.

"Our nation's health care future depends on it," the statement says.

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