Last Obamacare insurer in Iowa wants 57% rate hike next year

John Sexton Posted at 6:01 pm on August 17, 2017

Medica, the last remaining insurer in Iowa, has re-filed its rate requests for next year. The company is now asking for a 57% premium hike. From the Des Moines Register:

Iowans who buy their own health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchange would see their rates increase nearly 57 percent next year under a revised rate proposed Wednesday.

The proposal is 13 percentage points higher than previously was estimated by Medica, the one remaining carrier selling individual policies in Iowa next year.

Medica attributed the additional increase to uncertainties over federal health care subsidies, the insurer said in a release.

Back in June, Medica had requested a 43% rate request for next year. The additional 13% added to the request yesterday is intended to cover the company in the event President Trump cuts of cost-sharing payments.

As I noted back in June, the Iowa Insurance Commissioner has the ability to deny or alter rate requests submitted by Obamacare insurers. However, as the only remaining insurer in the state, Medica is in a unique position. If the commissioner were to cut the premium rate too low, the company could still decide to bow out altogether, leaving the state with no insurer next year.

Wednesday, the White House announced those payments would continue through August but made no promises beyond that. From CBS News:

The Trump administration will make Obamacare payments to insurers for August, a White House spokesman said Wednesday.

The president has repeatedly said he might end the payments, known as cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, which are currently slated to cost the government $7 billion during this fiscal year and $10 billion in 2018.

Earlier this week the CBO estimated cutting the payments to insurers would force them to raise rates about 20 percent.





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