Capitol Alert

‘Trump rates’ or Obamacare rates? Health plans can send both to California regulators

Dave Jones: 'The Affordable Care Act is a Republican idea'

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told The Sacramento Bee on March 8, 2017, that congressional Republicans opposed the Affordable Care Act only because it had been shepherded by a Democratic president.
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California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told The Sacramento Bee on March 8, 2017, that congressional Republicans opposed the Affordable Care Act only because it had been shepherded by a Democratic president.

When California health insurance companies begin setting 2018 rates next week, they’ll be able to offer two different projections without committing to either one.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is inviting the 15 or so health insurance providers the state regulates to draw up rates based on different scenarios centered on how the Trump administration enforces the Affordable Care Act.

One set would reflect the rates that insurance companies project if former President Barack Obama’s health care law remains in effect and is enforced.

The other set would be based on an assumption that President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress follow through on their pledges to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or that the Trump administration declines to enforce the law.

“The Trump Administration and House Republican leaders continue to undermine the Affordable Care Act, creating instability in health insurance markets and causing health insurers to have to increase rates for the 2018 market,” Jones said in a press release.

Allison Castro, a spokeswoman for his office, said insurance companies are not required to offer the different sets of rates. “We anticipate that many will participate,” she said.

Jones’ office is expected to begin reviewing proposed 2018 health insurance rates next week. They’ll be released to the public on July 17.

The insurance commissioner can ask for changes to the proposed rates, or pressure companies to lower them by declaring them “unreasonable.”

The rates are finalized in October before open enrollment begins Nov. 1.

Adam Ashton: 916-321-1063, @Adam_Ashton. Sign up for state worker news alerts at sacbee.com/newsletters.

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