As the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has failed, Congress must act quickly to stabilize the individual health insurance marketplace before they adjourn for the district work period. The window to act is rapidly closing, as rates must be finalized by mid-August and insurers are deciding whether to remain in this market or not. Without action, we anticipate more and more insurance companies pulling out across the country and significant premium rate increases in the majority of states.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) urges the Congress to take two immediate actions – fund CSR payments and market stability funding – to help shore up these markets. Cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments are critical to the viability of the individual health insurance markets in a significant number of states and must be funded through 2018. Sufficient and sustained market stabilization funding for states to establish reinsurance programs or high-risk pool programs is also needed for long-term stability beyond 2018. These two actions alone would go a long way toward steadying the individual markets while ongoing debates over legislative replacement and reform options continue.
We are deeply concerned that Washington's preoccupation with the political ramifications of this debate distract from the real-world implications being felt, as we speak, by Americans who are simply trying to go to the doctor, get care, or battle illness, and find a way to pay for it all for themselves and their loved ones. We respect the fact that reasonable ideological differences remain over what to cover, who should decide, and how much it should cost. Those policy decisions are important, but in the meantime, most Americans will measure success not in political terms, but in whether or not they have access to health care, which means access to insurance. Congress should act now to give that certainty to all Americans.