Some health experts are warning that insurance rates could rise significantly for people in the individual market who are between 50 and 64, or have a pre-existing condition, once states start taking advantage of new flexibility granted this week by the Trump administration.
States can now redirect federal subsidies to people buying cheaper, so called “skinny” plans that do not offer the minimum benefits required under the A-C-A. Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms, says the new plans will be able to reject people because of their age or health status.
Supporters of the new federal guidance say the less comprehensive plans will encourage more young, healthy people to buy insurance.
Each state will still be required to offer more comprehensive, ACA-compliant plans, but Corlette predicts the pool of people left in them will be older and sicker, which will lead insurance companies to raise rates or leave the ACA market altogether.
Iowa lawmakers have already agreed to let the Iowa Farm Bureau sell alternative or “skinny” coverage when it goes on sale, but only to Farm Bureau members. The bureau says applicants may be asked about pre-existing conditions and might either pay more or be turned away.
Corlette warns more flexible state plans may not prove to be cheaper.
If states are granted a waiver under the new rules, the new types of plans could come onto the market in 2020.