Monthly premiums could increase 33 percent next year for South Carolina residents on BlueCross BlueShield Obamacare public exchange plans.
The increase depends on whether the federal government provides subsidies, known as the cost-sharing reduction, to insurers.
“The overwhelming majority of our members in this line of business receive premium subsidies, which increase in proportion to the increase in rates,” said BCBSSC spokeswoman Patti Embry-Tautenhan.
“To remain as the lone health insurer in the South Carolina public exchange market,” she added, “BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina had to factor in the volatility of the marketplace, most expressly the continuing uncertainty of government funding of cost sharing reduction to insurers.”
After the Senate failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, President Trump threatened to cut off the payments that reduce the amount low-income people pay out of pocket for insurance, according to Eliot Fishman, senior director of health policy at Families USA.
That results in marketplace instability, so insurers won’t know what their costs are next year.
“Congress should immediately step in and introduce constructive, bipartisan legislation to safeguard the stability of the market and ensure full funding of these payments,” said Caitlin Morris, director of affordability initiatives for Families USA.
Embry-Tautenhan said the premium price will vary depending on the individual’s age and their specific health insurance product. But most members will see an average monthly increase of $12 or less in their premium if the 33 percent hike is approved by the state Department of Insurance, she said.
With the subsidy, the rate hike would be lower, but she declined to say how much.
BCBSSC is the only insurer offering coverage on the exchanges in the state.
The state Department of Insurance must approve the rate hike. Department spokeswoman Ann Roberson said that will be done at the conclusion of a review, probably around Oct. 6.
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