On October 25, 2017, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
released a report on the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017,
which is now under consideration within the Senate Committee on Health,
Education, Labor, and Pensions. The new
legislation would offer additional flexibility under the state innovation
waiver process, appropriate funding for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), require
some insurers to pay rebates on premiums for 2018, allow more individuals to
purchase high-deductible plans, and require Federal support for outreach and
The CBO report shows that, as compared to current CBO
baselines related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the new legislation would
reduce the projected federal deficit for 2018-2027 by $3.778 billion, while not
substantially changing the projected number of persons with health insurance coverage
over that period. CBO expects that the additional
flexibility in the state innovation waiver process under the new legislation would
increase the number of state waiver applications as well as the likelihood that
such waivers would be approved. The CBO
report is available here: https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53232
HHS issues report on health
insurance premium increases
On October 30, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS), Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), issued
a report on qualified health plans (QHPs) and health insurance issuers using
the federally operated, Healthcare.gov platform. The HHS/ASPE report shows sharp increases in
premiums and decreases in health insurance issuer participation for the November
1 – December 15, 2017 Healthcare.gov open enrollment period, for plans offering
coverage for calendar year 2018.
The ASPE report shows that:
- Premiums for “benchmark plans” will increase by
37 percent in 2018, versus 24 percent in 2017, 8 percent in 2016, and 3 percent
- Health insurance issuer participation will drop to
132 total state issuers in 2018, versus 167 issuers in 2017 and 232 issuers in
2016, for all states using Healthcare.gov for one or more years.
- Eight states will have only one health insurance
issuer on the Healthcare.gov platform in 2018, versus five states in 2017.
- 29 percent of enrollees will have only one
health insurance issuer to choose from in 2018, versus 20 percent of enrollees in
- The average number of “qualified health plans” for
enrollees to choose from will be 25 in 2018, versus 30 in 2017 and 46 in 2016.
- The average advance premium tax credit (APTC) for
qualified enrollees will increase 45 percent in 2018.
The HHS/ASPE report and data tables are available here: https://aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-report/health-plan-choice-and-premiums-2018-federal-health-insurance-exchange