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Healthcare Reform News Update for July 5, 2017

Healthcare Reform News Update for July 5, 2017

The House Has Drafted a Provision That Would Prevent the IRS from Enforcing the Individual Mandate

The House Committee on Appropriations has written a provision that would prevent the IRS from enforcing the tax penalties associated with the individual mandate. The drafted provision is not part of the House’s nor the Senate’s healthcare reform bills. The provision would also prevent the IRS “from enforcing a requirement that employers and insurance companies inform the government of the name and Social Security number of anyone to whom they provide health insurance coverage.” The government currently uses this information to enforce the individual mandate and other requirements.

Insurance Companies on the Marketplace May Ask for Enrollment Caps

Insurance companies that have not left the marketplaces have seen their enrollment increase, but those increases haven’t translated to higher profits, as many of the new enrollees are unhealthy individuals who require expensive medical care. Because their risk pools are unequal (with more sick individuals than healthy ones), many companies worry that they will lose money. In order to stem their losses, some companies may ask the government to cap enrollment for their plans.

Centene’s Entrance Into Missouri’s Marketplace Will Cover Potentially Barren Counties

On Friday, Centene announced that it would enter the Missouri health insurance marketplace for 2018. The company states that it plans to cover 39 counties, including 25 counties that would have had no individual insurance options. In a statement, Centene’s chairman, president, and chief executive Michael Neidorff said, “We strive to be a responsible partner with the state and are committed to working closely with regulators and policymakers to collaborate on actions that stabilize the market and offer affordable coverage options.”

Healthcare Reform News Update for July 3, 2017

Conservative Republicans Bring Up an Old Idea: Repeal Now and Replace Later

Senator Ben Sasse brought up the “repeal now and replace later” idea in both a letter to the President and on Fox News. Senator Rand Paul and an advocacy group called Americans for Prosperity seem to support the idea. In a Tweet, President Trump also voiced support for the two-step approach.

Premier Health Plan and Memorial Hermann Health System Announce Market Exits

Premier Health Plan has announced that it will leave Ohio’s individual health insurance market. The company cited uncertainty over the individual Marketplace and difficulty pricing as its reason to exit the market.

Memorial Hermann Health System will completely exit the individual market at the end of 2017. A spokeswoman explained the company’s exit in an email: “After careful consideration, Memorial Hermann Health Plans has made the difficult decision to withdraw from the individual segments due to challenging market conditions and continued uncertainty in this segment of the health insurance industry.” The company will still sell Medicare Advantage plans.

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