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Halt in ACA Payments Means Free Coverage for Some

Ironically, President Trump’s action to halt federal payments for reducing out-of-pocket costs for low-income enrollees in the Affordable Care Act may mean some will get coverage for free...
October 31, 2017

Ironically, President Trump’s action to halt federal payments for reducing out-of-pocket costs for low-income enrollees in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may mean some will get coverage for free. An analysis of newly available federal data by consulting firm Oliver Wyman found that, in nearly all the 2,722 counties included in the data, some consumers will be able to obtain free health insurance because, without CSR payments, they actually qualify for larger federal premium subsidies that cover the full cost of a plan.

Although President Donald Trump’s administration halted CSR payments, it did not end — and indirectly strengthened — separate federal subsidies that help consumers with their insurance premiums. The new analysis does not project exactly how many consumers could be eligible for the no-premium plans. “We absolutely will be promoting this opportunity to get coverage at a zero price,” said Wendy Curran, a spokeswoman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming.

Insurers hope the no-premium insurance draws in more healthy enrollees. Healthy consumers help bolster the stability of the market by balancing out the health costs of sicker enrollees.

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