Health insurers warned that a move by the Trump administration on Saturday to temporarily suspend a program that was set to pay out $10.4 billion to insurers for covering high-risk individuals past year could drive up premium costs and create marketplace uncertainty.
While imperfect, the risk adjustment program "has helped promote market stability over the past five years", Wehrle said.
Insurance stocks may be a focus in Monday morning's trading. According to advocates of ACA, also known as Obamacare, the risk adjustment program helps to ensure coverage is available for high-need patients by sharing the cost of covering them. Trump tweeted dozens and dozens of times about Obamacare and its demise past year as he pushed the Senate to repeal the law. "Following through with this latest act of sabotage could raise rates for all consumers even more - on top of the rate hikes they have already caused - and is without a doubt an escalation in the Trump administration's war on people with pre-existing conditions".
About 20 million Americans have received health insurance coverage through the program.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose members are a mainstay of Affordable Care Act coverage said it was "extremely disappointed" with the administration's action.
In January this year, the federal district judge in MA upheld the methodology used by the federal government to calculate risk adjustment payments.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma says the navigators just aren't cost effective.
The Trump administration's move "will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small business owners and could result in far fewer health plan choices", association president Scott Serota said in a statement. The program was also cut past year. "It will allow more companies to get into the insurance market".
In February, U.S. District Judge James Browning in Albuquerque, N.M., ruled that the formula used by CMS to calculate payments in the risk-adjustment program was flawed and had not been adequately justified by federal regulators.
The elimination of risk adjustment funds also comes as Maryland officials await a decision from CMS on another funding mechanism they believe would help stabilize the market and provide money to insurers to help pay for expensive patients.
The outcome of the decision could send premiums soaring and insurers running for the exits on the ACA exchanges.
These moves are prompting some insurers to request premium hikes for 2019 in the double digits.
There have been winners and losers in risk adjustment. "Cutting such payments achieves the opposite effect".
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has suspended payments to health insurers with a large number of sick Obamacare clients. In Maryland, Kaiser usually ends up paying CareFirst.