They thought it was a possibility. So, when it happened late last week…..they were not caught off guard. And that might be good news for Arizonans.
The two insurance companies that sell individual health insurance plans on federal exchanges in Arizona planned for the possibility that President Donald Trump would end payments that help cut costs for lower-income clients.
Health Net designed its 2018 rates anticipating the payments would end. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona did not but considered the possibility and said it would remain profitable even if they stopped.
Health Net is raising its rates by less than 2 percent next year. Blue Cross is lowering them by 1 percent.
According to KTAR-News in Phoenix, “Although the company didn’t respond to inquiries from The Associated Press on Friday, filings with the Department of Insurance outline Health Net’s decision to set 2018 rates were made in anticipation of the payments ending.”
Blue Cross executive Jeff Stelnik said in an interview last week that his company took payments ending into account when setting its rates, although it anticipated they would continue.
“We believe that the rates that we’re putting in place are appropriate under either scenario,” Stelnik said.
To provide a little more background, the Trump Administration announced late last week that it would no longer make payments to support subsidies to insurers that help millions of low-income people pay medical expenses. 18 states sued on Friday to stop President Trump from scrapping the subsidies. Arizona is not one of those states.
The states will ask the court to force Trump to make the next payment. Legal experts said the states were likely to face an uphill battle in court.
“His effort to gut these subsidies with no warning or even a plan to contain the fallout is breathtakingly reckless,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “This is an effort simply to blow up the system.”
While it seems Arizona may have prepared better than some states in the short term, KJZZ.org pointed out, “After 2018, without those subsidies, the situation could change dramatically. In recent years, Arizona has struggled to keep insurers from exiting the marketplace. “They could say we are not going to participate,” said Allen Gjersvig with the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers, which helps enroll people in the marketplace.”
Share your thoughts on what losing the subsidies could mean to our state. Whether you believe it could be devastating, or believe the President is doing the right thing….we want to hear from you. Generating meaningful conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!