STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump moves pushing up Obamacare premiums for 2019

Brace yourselves -- it looks like Obamacare premiums could jump by double digits again next year.Insurers in s...

Posted: Jun 7, 2018 4:46 PM
Updated: Jun 7, 2018 4:46 PM

Brace yourselves -- it looks like Obamacare premiums could jump by double digits again next year.

Insurers in several states have requested large rate hikes for 2019, with many pointing to steps taken by President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress as the main reasons why.

New York insurers want to hike rates by 24%, on average, while carriers in Washington are looking for a 19% average premium increase. In Maryland, CareFirst is asking for an average 18.5% rate bump for its HMO plans and a 91% spike for its PPO policies (which have far fewer enrollees), while Kaiser Permanente wants to boost premiums by more than 37%, on average.

Many insurers cite two key drivers of the increases: Congress' elimination of the penalty for the individual mandate -- which requires nearly all Americans to have coverage or pay up -- and the Trump administration's expected expansion of two types of health plans that don't have to adhere to Obamacare's regulations.

"Health insurance providers are now making decisions about market participation and pricing for the 2019 plan year in a market that continues to face uncertainty and instability challenges," America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry group, wrote in a recent report.

RELATED: Obamacare premiums to rise an average of 15% next year, says CBO

Jettisoning the individual mandate penalty is expected to cause premiums to rise by about 10%, the industry group said, citing reports by the Congressional Budget Office and independent actuaries. That's because younger and healthier people will be more likely to forgo insurance since they will no longer have to pay a penalty. Insurers fear they will then be left with sicker and older policyholders, prompting them to request higher rates to cover the anticipated increase in claims.

Also, Trump last year issued an executive order directing federal agencies to make it easier to buy two alternatives to Affordable Care Act plans. One would allow small businesses to band together to buy coverage through association health plans, while the other would let Americans buy short-term coverage that would last less than a year, rather than the current 90-day limit. Both of these types of policies are expected to have lower premiums, but would cover fewer benefits -- making them more attractive to healthier Americans who don't need comprehensive coverage.

Related: Trump officials unveil rule that could chip away at Obamacare

Insurers in remaining states will file proposed rates in coming weeks. Regulators will review the requests and could change them significantly. Premiums will be finalized in September and open enrollment starts November 1.

There are some bright spots in the 2019 Obamacare landscape. Insurers in some states, such as Pennsylvania and Vermont, have requested relatively modest increases. In the Keystone State, insurers are asking for a boost of 4.9% on average. Meanwhile, BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont and MVP Health Care are asking for 7.5% and 10.9% bumps, respectively.

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman attributed the relatively small increase to the state's efforts to maintain enrollment this year after the Trump administration slashed support. Also, the state's individual market remains competitive: Nearly half of counties will have a greater choice of insurers next year, and only eight will have just one carrier, down from 20 this year.

Related: Trump administration unveils alternative to Obamacare

Another plus: Insurers so far haven't pulled out completely from any market in the nation. At various points last year, tens of thousands of Americans in dozens of counties were facing the prospect of having no choice of carriers on their Affordable Care Act exchanges. State regulators, however, were able to convince insurers to offer policies in every county by the time open enrollment began in November.

Also, most Obamacare enrollees won't have to pay more for coverage next year, regardless of how much insurers hike premiums. That's because they receive federal subsidies that limit their rates to less than 10% of their income.

However, the rate hikes will hit the millions of Americans who earn too much for subsidies or who buy individual coverage outside of the Obamacare exchanges.

This story has been updated.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17436187
Hinds16524328
Harrison13876199
Rankin11000217
Jackson10652187
Lee8981141
Madison8413168
Jones6552112
Forrest6101121
Lauderdale6034189
Lowndes5463119
Lafayette507393
Lamar496465
Washington4877124
Bolivar4068109
Oktibbeha401681
Panola378380
Pontotoc372155
Monroe3628105
Warren3619101
Union350563
Marshall349569
Neshoba3433152
Pearl River3380104
Leflore3079108
Lincoln300687
Sunflower289272
Hancock285360
Tate276762
Alcorn268854
Pike266580
Itawamba266261
Scott253448
Yazoo250156
Prentiss249552
Tippah245850
Copiah244549
Coahoma243654
Simpson240069
Leake234367
Grenada221171
Marion218473
Covington216972
Adams210170
Wayne206432
Winston205267
George202739
Attala195761
Newton195745
Tishomingo192461
Chickasaw186144
Jasper176038
Holmes169868
Clay162735
Tallahatchie154935
Stone148424
Clarke143562
Calhoun138021
Smith125825
Yalobusha120234
Walthall113437
Greene112129
Noxubee111425
Montgomery110936
Carroll105922
Lawrence104317
Perry103231
Amite99926
Webster94324
Tunica87621
Jefferson Davis87327
Claiborne86825
Benton84023
Humphreys83624
Kemper79120
Quitman7029
Franklin68716
Choctaw62313
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55920
Sharkey44217
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 432536

Reported Deaths: 6379
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63523957
Mobile30967562
Madison27627201
Tuscaloosa21122268
Montgomery19495326
Shelby18941126
Baldwin16798188
Lee12901102
Morgan12447129
Etowah11911178
Calhoun11365205
Marshall10322119
Houston8813156
Limestone823176
Cullman8159106
Elmore8056104
DeKalb7796102
Lauderdale773399
St. Clair7705122
Talladega6347109
Walker5993174
Jackson590341
Colbert543274
Blount541186
Autauga527061
Coffee454160
Dale405482
Franklin371948
Russell345712
Chilton340972
Covington334168
Escambia328344
Dallas310196
Chambers297370
Clarke290536
Tallapoosa2665107
Pike258830
Marion250155
Lawrence249150
Winston231442
Bibb219848
Geneva206946
Marengo205229
Pickens198631
Hale180842
Barbour177836
Fayette174528
Butler171358
Cherokee162530
Henry157523
Monroe150718
Randolph143236
Washington139527
Clay128546
Crenshaw121644
Cleburne119724
Lamar119621
Macon119637
Lowndes112536
Wilcox105822
Bullock101428
Perry99118
Conecuh96320
Sumter89726
Greene76723
Coosa62215
Choctaw51624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 57°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 55°
Oxford
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 52°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather