Obamacare uncertainty may mean higher insurance premiums, experts say

Health insurance companies were supposed to announce their planned 2018 premiums this month. They’ve gotten an extension until July 17 because of all the Obamacare repeal back and forth, but that is the latest they can wait.

And with the Senate unlikely to pass the House version of the American Health Care Act, insurance companies have no idea of whether they will get federal subsidies to help cover people on the so-called individual market — the people buying Obamacare plans. Insurance companies also have little idea of who will be eligible to enroll in these plans, given the changes that could be coming.

The Obamacare policies only cover about 8 percent of Americans. But the fight over the markets is having a disproportionate effect, politically.

“This is a small market, but it really is the tail wagging the dog in our system,” said Karen Pollitz of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, which does health policy research.