Health care premiums set to spike highest in Trump country

A new report reveals that premium increases could range from 12 to 32 percent in 2019

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published March 8, 2018 2:56PM (EST)

 (AP/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP/Ross D. Franklin)

President Donald Trump has been waging a war against Obamacare since his first day in office, gutting the law's individual mandate and its cost-sharing subsidies. Now it appears that as a result of these and other policy changes, Americans throughout the country can expect their health insurance premiums to go up — with plans offered in states that voted for Trump set to be hit hardest.

According to a study sponsored by Covered California, without any federal intervention, premiums will increase from between 12 percent and 32 percent nationwide in 2019. That is expected to rise to between 35 percent and 90 percent by 2021.

"Every state is at risk of significant cumulative premium increases in 2019-2021 due to continued federal uncertainty in the individual market," the report explained. "The uneasy conditions in many states have been exacerbated by recent decisions made at the national level, such as the removal of the federal penalty for being uninsured; the introduction of association health plans and short-term, limited duration plans that could promote higher costs and the siphoning of healthy consumers; and the potential of continued underinvestment in marketing and outreach to consumers eligible for coverage in those states that rely on federal marketplace."

In order to stave off these potential premium hikes, the report recommended a number of possible policy solutions, including creating a reinsurance program, funding cost-sharing reduction subsidies, and creating auto-enrollment for eligible people, among other options.

"Health care is local and the impacts of the changes in federal policy will play out differently across the nation. The conclusion is that there are no 'winners' — rather the range of impacts is from bad to very bad," Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California, told PR Newswire about the study.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Affordable Care Act Donald Trump Health Care Reform Obamacare Republican Party