CBO: Trump Admin’s Approach To ACA Will Depress Enrollment, Hike Premiums

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a new report Thursday on projected changes to the health care marketplace under the Trump administration’s ever-changing approach to the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period.

In particular, the CBO reported that although the individual market will be relatively stable going forward under current law, signups this fall are likely to be suppressed because of the Trump administration’s decision to cut 90 percent of the Obamacare advertising budget and nearly half of the budget for navigators who help people around the country enroll.

“That increase in enrollment in 2018 is limited by projected premium increases due to near-term market uncertainty and by announced reductions in federal advertising, outreach, the enrollment period, and other enrollment efforts, which push enrollment down,” the agency wrote, noting that the Trump administration has cut in half the amount of time people have to enroll in a health plan, down to six weeks from three months.

The report also predicted premiums will be driven up next year due to ongoing uncertainty around whether the Trump administration will cut off payments for Obamacare’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies to insurers.

“The agencies expect insurers to raise premiums for marketplace plans in 2018 by an average of roughly 15 percent, largely because of uncertainty about whether the federal government will continue to fund CSR payments and because of an increase in the percentage of the population living in areas with only one insurer,” the CBO wrote.

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