White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that negotiations were still ongoing about whether to fund them. Insurers, doctors, hospitals and the business community have asked President Donald Trump to preserve ACA "cost-sharing" subsidies that pare down high deductibles and copayments for consumers with modest incomes.
Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade group representing health insurers, said in a statement "there is still too much instability and uncertainty in this market".
But the rule does not address the ACA's cost-sharing subsidies, which are at the center of a health care controversy.
Open enrollment for 2018 coverage will run from November 1 until December 15 of this year, half the time period that open enrollment has been offered since the launch of HealthCare.gov. CMS says the changes would allow people to have coverage for the entirety of 2018 and reduce the chance of "adverse selection", when people only buy insurance in the second half of the sign-up period if they learn they're sick.
"We intend to conduct outreach to consumers to ensure that they are aware of the newly shortened open enrollment period", according to the document.
The Trump administration late Thursday issued a final rule aimed at stabilizing the existinghealth law's insurance marketplace that could have rapid, dramatic effects - perhaps as soon as early summer - on people who do not get insurance through work, and buy it on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges instead.
Health insurers continue to abandon Affordable Care Act exchanges. Insurers also want to know if the individual mandate will be enforced and if the administration will do outreach during the open enrollment period to encourage Americans to sign up. The change could lead to some consumers facing higher out-of-pocket costs, but might also lower what they pay in premiums, drawing in more young and healthy enrollees, the government said.
"This proposal will take steps to stabilize the Marketplace, provide more flexibility to states and insurers, and give patients access to more coverage options", acting CMS Administrator Patrick Conway said in a statement. They also make it harder for people to enrol outside that period, which is allowed under certain circumstances such as a pregnancy or a move.
Allowing an insurer to collect past debt for unpaid premiums from the prior 12 months before applying a consumer's payments to a new policy.
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This year saw premium increases averaging 25 percent for a standard plan in states served by HealthCare.gov.
Most communities will have competing insurers on the public marketplace next year, but a growing number will be down to one, and some areas may face having none.
All eyes are now on Anthem, a big Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer operating in several states that has yet to announce its intentions. CEO Joseph Swedish has said his company would not commit to participating next year.
The unusual ploy has caused concern among insurers, hospitals and other groups, who say individual premiums could rise almost 20 percent and insurers might exit the marketplace if they don't get the money.
Dave Dillon of the Society of Actuaries says growth in underlying medical expenses could drive coverage prices up 10% or more.
And Frederick Isasi, executive director of consumer group Families USA, said the regulation was unnecessary since the Congressional Budget Office and other analyses have said the individual market was stable and would remain so for the foreseeable future.
In Washington, Republicans are trying to resolve an impasse between hardliners and moderates that has prevented them from getting their own healthcare bill through the House.
Meanwhile, the legal issue over the cost-sharing subsidies remains in limbo. A U.S. District judge found that Congress did not specifically authorize the payments, making the expenditure unconstitutional.
"If Congress doesn't approve it, or if I don't approve it, that would mean that Obamacare doesn't have enough money so it dies immediately as opposed to over a period of time", Trump told the Wall Street Journal.