Avera, Sanford Warn Trump Cuts Would Raise Premiums

Avera and Sanford health plans are planning to raise premiums for the Affordable Care Act health coverage they sell in South Dakota (Avera 20%; Sanford 7.5%). Both companies say those increases will jump even more if Donald Trump follows through on his threat to cut the cost-sharing reduction payments:

Sanford Health Plan President Kirk Zimmer said the company would likely have to recalculate its rates and refile them if the payments are to stop. The 2018 open enrollment period starts Nov. 1.

“Our rates are filed as long as the federal government agrees to continue payment of the cost-sharing reductions,” Zimmer said. “We’re firmly committed to being on the exchange for 2018.”

…Avera Health Plans CEO Debra Muller said she believes the state would provide insurance carriers with an opportunity to adjust their rates if the payments are cut off, but she said they need to be funded for “market stabilization.”

“I think that’s what everybody’s directionally trying to do right now is to figure out how we maintain stability in the individual market going into 2018 without knowing what the federal government is going to decide to do, whether it be President Trump or Congress,” she said [“SD Insurers Urge Trump to Make Health Law Payments,” AP via Pierre Capital Journal, 2017.08.16].

I don’t like agreeing with big insurance companies, but Avera and Sanford are simply confirming what Kaiser Family Foundation reported last week and what the CBO reported Tuesday about the negative impact Trump’s threats may have on insurance premiums. Donald Trump is out to make your health insurance more expensive.

4 Responses to Avera, Sanford Warn Trump Cuts Would Raise Premiums

  1. Porter Lansing

    Does the South Dakota insurance commission have the power to deny these increases?
    – CO Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar blamed spikes on federal uncertainty, known as the “Trump factor”. “I believe that the dubious situation at the federal level has contributed to the premium increase requests we’ve seen from the companies,” she said.

  2. Yes, they can deny if the insurance companies fail to show that the increase they seek is not in line with the 80% claim ratio to premium collected mandated by South Dakota law. So the increase has to be justified in order to be allowed. The rate increases are the complete fault of NOem in particular for her participation in the gutting of the ACA/Obamacare. Thune and Rounds are also at fault here as well with their recent strive for their personal wealth. It is all about the money with this crew.

  3. There really does not seem to be any outrage on this so it looks like no one really cares if the premiums go even higher. Whenever I see this kind of lack of action is when I think, well the product in question is under valued so the prices should go up even further.

    State legislators have gotten a free pass on the fact that what they are doing is fundamentally altering Social Security with their lack of attention to Medicaid. So between the federal elected officials and the state elected officials, they are seamless in their deployment of gutting each of the plans with the goal of killing Social Security itself.

  4. Sort of like someone giving you a car. Maybe it needs a few improvements to make a really good car, but it is better than the one you had. Then, you take the transmission out of it and start to complain that the car is worthless and blame the person who gave it to you. Sounds like the Republican Clown Car!