As Congress continues to debate whether or not Obamacare is "working," folks in the key swing state of Florida just found out that their insurance premiums for 2018 are going to surge by 45% in a single year. Per the Miami Herald:
Health insurers selling Affordable Care Act plans in Florida will raise monthly premiums by nearly 45 percent on average next year, the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation said Tuesday.
Florida regulators said most of the average rate hike — 31 percentage points — came from standard plans sold on the ACA exchange at healthcare.gov. Insurers raised rates for those plans due to the political uncertainty that has plagued the healthcare debate, specifically whether the Trump administration will stop paying subsidies that lower out-of-pocket costs for low-income Americans.
Of the 1.43 million Floridians with an ACA plan in 2017, about three in four, or more than 1 million people, received a cost sharing reduction, according to federal estimates. Nine in 10 Floridians, or about 1.33 million received a separate subsidy that reduced their monthly rate, called the advance premium tax credit.
Most Floridians with a standard ACA plan and a premium subsidy won’t see their monthly costs rise, and some may even pay less than they did the prior year. But the brunt of the 2018 rate hikes will fall squarely on the 7 percent of Floridians, about 66,000 people statewide, who earn too much to qualify for any financial aid to lower their costs of coverage.
To put that surge into perspective, the average healthcare plan in Florida will now cost roughly $8,000 per year to cover a single person, a $2,500 increase YoY. Meanwhile, that implies that the average cost of covering a family of 4 is well over $1,500 per month ($18,000 per year), making it easily the second largest expense for most family budgets and in many cases the largest. Needless to say, most American families aren't prepared for their largest expenses to surge 45% in a single year.
Meanwhile, and to our great shock no less, the Miami Herald was able to find an "expert" from the University of Miami to explain why this is all Trump's fault.
Steven Ullmann, a healthcare policy expert with the University of Miami, said insurers are playing defense by raising plan premiums to deal with the uncertainty over the cost sharing subsidies.
“There’s so much indecision,” he said. “That’s the killer.”
The Trump administration has been funding cost sharing subsidies month-to-month, without making the long-term commitment that insurers say would help stabilize the ACA insurance market.
Will the Trump administration enforce the ACA’s employer mandate, which requires any company with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance to their workers? What about the individual mandate requiring every eligible American who doesn’t get insurance through work to buy a health plan or pay a fine that is either 2.5 percent of household income or $695 per adult and $347.50 for each child younger than 18?
The Trump administration also has slashed the federal government’s advertising and outreach budget for the upcoming open enrollment season, which has been shortened from three months last year to about 45 days this year. Open enrollment for 2018 coverage on healthcare.gov runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.
All of this could dissuade the very people that the ACA, also known as Obamacare, needs to thrive, Ullmann said — young and healthy individuals who don’t need a lot of healthcare.
Of course, the esteemed UofM professor makes some great points if you can ignore the fact that Florida's 2018 Obamacare increases are not some new phenomenon that started once Trump took office, but rather just a continuation of a devastating trend that has been ongoing since 2013.
But sure, it's all Trump's fault.