The deadline for applications from insurers planning to offer coverage in 2018 through Covered California was May 1, 2017. As part of the application, insurers had to include their proposed rates. Given the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones allowed insurers to file two sets of rates with the Department of Insurance. Insurers were encouraged to file rates assuming the ACA is enforced and funded as well as rates assuming the individual mandate is not enforced and federal funding for cost-sharing subsidies is not provided.
While the proposed rates submitted by insurers is not publically available, Covered California recently released an analysis showing the potential consequences if the individual mandate is not enforced and the cost-sharing subsidies are discontinued. The analysis concluded that without these two provisions, premiums could rise between 28 to 49 percent in 2018 with up to 340,000 individuals dropping coverage. However, if the two provisions are enforced and maintained, Covered California’s enrollment is projected to remain stable in 2018. The analysis even found the uninsured rate could potentially continue to decrease.
While everyone waits for clarity on these questions, time is running out. Now that applications and proposed rates have been submitted, Covered California will soon begin negotiations with insurers. But with final rates due by June 15, 2017, the clock is ticking.