Health insurance subsidy cuts likely harmful to consumers

President Trump’s plan to end federal health insurance subsidies to health insurers that help make the insurance more affordable to for low- and middle-income consumers under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will likely harm the health insurance market, especially the individual market that depends on the subsidies to offer such policies, Benjamin Sommers, associate professor of health policy and economics at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in an October 13, 2017 Marketplace Morning Report interview. If the policy remains in effect, he predicted consumers will see higher premiums and more insurers exiting the market.

The interview also discusses President Trump’s recent executive order that aims to offer more choices to consumers by allowing new plans to offer less generous coverage that would be exempt from various ACA regulations. “Essentially, this is going back to the pre-ACA world, where you don’t have to cover things like prescription drugs. The requirements in terms of pre-existing condition exclusions are now up in the air,” Sommers said. “In other words, if you’re young and healthy, and don’t really want comprehensive health insurance, this could be a good thing for you, and for everyone else — older adults, people with chronic conditions, and people who want comprehensive coverage that covers things like prescription drugs and mental health — this is not a good thing. This will undermine a lot of the gains over the past four years.”

Listen to the Marketplace Morning Report interview: Trump to cut off federal subsidies to health insurers under Obamacare

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Medical care, health have improved for low-income adults under ACA (Harvard Chan School press release)