Elimination of CSRs could increase uninsured by 9.4M

The number of uninsured Americans could increase by 9.4 million if the federal government stops funding cost-sharing reductions, which help insurers offset the cost of offering eligible ACA health plan enrollees lower deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums, according to an Urban Institute study.

For the analysis, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, researchers used the Urban Institute's Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model to examine how cutting federal CSR payments could play out in three scenarios.

Here are three key findings from the report.

1. In the first scenario, researchers analyzed what would happen if insurers have ample time before the plan year starts to calculate estimated CSR costs into a surcharge on its silver marketplace premiums. This scenario also considers insurers' willingness to remain in the ACA marketplaces. Under the first scenario, researchers predict premiums could increase 23 percent next year for silver marketplace plans, and about 600,000 more Americans would enroll in exchange plans. As a result, the federal government would spend 18 percent more next year on premium tax credits than on premium tax credits and CSRs combined. This would total $7.2 billion in 2018.

2. In the second scenario, researchers projected what would happen if insurers leave the marketplaces as a result of CSR payment cuts and policy uncertainties regarding enforcement of the ACA's individual mandate and outreach funding. Under the second scenario, America's uninsured population would jump to 9.4 million. In addition, enrollment in the private individual market would fall 57 percent and individual premiums would increase 37 percent. At the same time, eliminating the ACA's tax credits and CSRs would decrease federal spending by $40.7 billion next year.

3. In the final scenario, researchers predicted if lawmakers no longer require insurers to pay CSRs to eligible enrollees, 4 million more individuals would lack insurance. Individual premiums would also increase by 12 percent, the report states.

For the full study, click here

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