Trump Administration Cuts Funding For Obamacare Navigator Program

The Trump administration finds another way to throw sand in Obamacare's gears at patients' expense

"It's time for the navigator program to evolve, which is why we are announcing a new direction for the program today", said CMS administrator Seema Verma.

"Longer-term, I think that the administration's walk-back of risk-adjustment payments penalizes those payers that did, in fact, attempt to enroll participants without bias to health status, and unfortunately it also rewards those payers that for whatever reason made a decision to play it that much safer and do their best to recruit healthy individuals", Abrams says. The most recent analysis of the issue was done in 2015 by H&R Block, which found that 52 percent of people who enrolled in health insurance through Affordable Care Act marketplaces around the country ended up paying back some of the subsidies.

Risk adjustment is one of three methods built into the 2010 health-care law to help insulate insurance companies from the ACA requirement that they accept all customers for the first time - healthy and sick - without charging more to those who need substantial care.

"Risk adjustment under the ACA has been an example of a well-meaning regulation that has had destructive impacts directly contrary to its intent", Jonathan Halvorson, a health care public policy adviser at consulting firm Sachs Policy Group, stated in an article for The Health Care Blog.

Don't count on it, said Steve Israel, a Boynton Beach, Fla., insurance agent and past president of the Florida Association of Health Underwriters.

But CareFirst and Kaiser could ask to adjust their rates higher given the Trump administration's decision.

Democrats urge Trump to cancel Putin meeting, Republicans are wary
The calls came after a new indictment in the Russian Federation investigation was announced on Friday. Oh, and he's also meeting with Putin this week.

The decision to halt the payments casts further uncertainty over the ACA marketplaces at a time when insurers are finalizing their offerings for open enrollment in November. The judge tossed out the formula used to calculate payments, finding that it was flawed. The counselors, known as navigators, help consumers find an affordable health plan on the ACA exchanges.

Jeffrey Loo, an analyst at CFRA Research, said health insurers are preparing 2019 rates "and this suspension adds financial uncertainty".

For the past five years, when insurance has been available through ACA marketplaces for people who do not have access to affordable health benefits through a job, federal health officials have started every spring working with navigator groups on plans for the coming enrollment season. The Florida group will need to make hard choices about who they serve during open enrollment period that begins in November. Her insurer, Oscar, is boosting rates again for 2019, and Williams is slated to see an increase to $518.33 for a low-level bronze plan. Why the administration waited so long to take action rather than immediately respond to the decision with a justification of its payment formula remains a mystery. In Iowa, Wellmark, a regional insurer, plans to rejoin the ACA market for 2019. "As a result of this litigation, billions of dollars in risk adjustment payments and collections are now on hold". While nonprofits operating under the navigator program were previously forbidden from recommending particular health plans, now groups that apply for the grants will be expected to encourage people to buy association health plans or short-term insurance plans.

Citing inefficiencies and other information options for consumers, CMS cut funding to $10 million - down from $63 million in 2016. "Costs for taxpayers will rise as the federal government spends more on premium subsidies", said a statement from America's Health Insurance Plans, a health insurance industry trade group.

CMS now wants the navigators to promote these policies in addition to steering people toward ACA-compliant plans and Medicaid.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top I'm the little man who can, says Croatia's Modric
Jul 14, 2018 - 21:12
I told them straight away that a big name equals a big mistake that will cost big money. Both players play at a high level, so this final won't affect them too much.

Jabari Parker Reportedly Would Like To Play For The Bulls
Jul 14, 2018 - 19:56
Parker, who was selected No. 2 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season. The only question that remains is if the Bucks would actually match whatever the Bulls offer Parker.

Nancy Sinatra, Frank's first wife, dies aged 101
Jul 14, 2018 - 19:27
In this October 23, 1946 file photo, singer Frank Sinatra and his wife Nancy smile broadly as they leave a Hollywood night club. Her death comes two decades after her husband's, who died of a heart attack in 1998 at age 82.

Was Russia listening? Democrat hack followed Trump speech
Jul 14, 2018 - 19:11
In February, Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies in an elaborate conspiracy to interfere in the election. But GRU is part of the state machine, and their participation would indicate that Putin was closely involved in the effort.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Driver charged after boulder falls off truck, kills 2 in Rosemount
Jul 14, 2018 - 18:56
Investigators learned that a camera at Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount captured the truck driving from the accident scene. Rosemount Police Chief Mitchell Scott said Czeck didn't provide a statement upon his arrest but requested an attorney.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Second suspect arrested over murder of rapper XXXTentacion
Jul 14, 2018 - 18:17
Police say that Boatright, who has an extensive record of drug charges and an arrest for battery, was a gunman in XXX's murder. The sheriff's office didn't say whether it is accusing Boatwright or the other man of killing Onfroy.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top China trade surplus with U.S. hits record high in June
Jul 14, 2018 - 17:55
China imported American goods worth $13.6 billion in June while exporting $42.6 billion to the United States. Growth in imports for June showed a moderate slowdown from May, official data showed on Friday.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top United Kingdom police search for paraglider who flew over Trump resort
Jul 14, 2018 - 17:12
Asked about Khan, a member of the opposition Labour Party, Trump was highly critical of the London mayor. From Chequers, Mr Trump and the First Lady will fly to Windsor Castle for an audience with the Queen.

Trump refuses to answer CNN reporter's question
Jul 14, 2018 - 17:01
Of course, it happens to be NBC, which is possibly worse than CNN ", Trump groused. "I don't take questions from CNN", said Trump. I got 306! They were sooooo wrong in their election coverage. "They didn't put it in the headline".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Siraj Raisani's brother demand truth commission to probe Mastung attack
Jul 14, 2018 - 15:04
On July 10, a suicide blast had killed Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haroon Bilour and 19 others in Peshawar's Yaktoot area. Lashari said that the death toll is feared to further rise as 22 among the injured people are in critical condition.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Flooding in Japan has killed more than 100
Jul 14, 2018 - 15:00
Abe visited the hard-hit city where a river broke through an embankment and swept through residential areas. Police, Japan's Coast Guard, firefighters and 179 helicopters are involved in the rescue.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Emma Kennedy Twitter: Actress 'threatened with bullets' by pro-Donald Trump supporter
Jul 14, 2018 - 14:40
Royal fans were concerned for the 92-year-old Queen's health after she failed to attend a recent service at St Paul's Cathedral. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived at Windsor Castle and meet Queen Elizabeth II Friday afternoon.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump, May hold talks amid firestorm over Brexit
Jul 14, 2018 - 14:03
The Washington Post responded to Trump's claims by noting that The Sun had tapes too and had already posted clips. Donald Trump has talked the pound down and back up again.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Royal Family celebrates Royal Air Force`s 100th Anniversary
Jul 14, 2018 - 13:24
The Duchess of Cambridge made a surprise appearance at the centenary celebrations for the Royal Air Force yesterday. They're the COOL Duke and Duchess of Sussex-who continue to defy royal protocol in understated, endearing ways.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Chris becomes hurricane off coast of North Carolina
Jul 14, 2018 - 09:48
Maximum sustained winds are near 70 miles per hour (110 kph) with higher gusts. Chris had reached hurricane status in the mid-Atlantic for a period.