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Premiums to increase $843 next year on Nevada exchange after individual mandate repeal, new federal rule change, report says

Megan Messerly
Megan Messerly
Health CareState Government
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Nevada’s premiums on the health-care exchange are likely to increase by about $843 next year as a result of Congress’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and a new Trump administration rule on short-term health insurance plans, according to a new report from the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress.

The report, released Friday, found that annual premiums nationwide will increase from an average of about $6,176 to $7,189 for the average 40-year-old, which is about a 16.4 percent increase. In Nevada, average premiums using the same benchmark are projected to rise from about $5,547 to $6,390, or an increase of about 15 percent.

The analysis relied on projections of the average percent premium increases from the left-leaning Urban Institute to project the anticipated dollar amount of premium increases in each state. The Institute previously projected that Nevada will see a 4 percent increase in its uninsured population, or about 15,000 additional uninsured people, as a result of both the individual mandate going away in 2019 and the federal rule change, expected to be approved in the near future.

The rule, released in February, would allow consumers to purchase so-called, short-term, limited duration insurance plans for up to 364 days, instead of the three months allowed under current law. Insurers that offer short-term policies are allowed to deny coverage or charge premiums without limit based on health status, gender, age and other factors, unlike plans insurers sell on the exchange.

But Nevada will likely not bear the full brunt of that rule change because of a state regulation enacted in 1997 that limits short-term plans in the state to 185 days. However, there is nothing stopping Nevadans from hopping from insurance company to insurance company purchasing back-to-back short-term plans.

“The Exchange is deeply concerned about the impact the proposed rule may have on the stability of the individual market,” Silver State Health Insurance Exchange Executive Director Heather Korbulic wrote in a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in April. “Enacting this rule will not increase access to comprehensive quality coverage — rather, it will likely result in increased premiums for Exchange consumers while siphoning individuals into plans that do not offer comprehensive benefits.”

The Center for American Progress’s analysis found that Michigan, the other state that limits short-term plans, would also see more modest increases, with premiums rising from $4,892 to $5,489, or $597. The six states that ban short-term plans outright also typically saw smaller increases, ranging from no projected increase in premiums in Massachusetts to a $791 increase in Vermont.

The report projected that Wyoming would see the biggest increase in annual premiums as a result of the two changes to the tune of about $2,066 annually, followed by Nebraska, with a projected $2,009 increase. Other states with the highest projected increases included Tennessee ($1,727), Oklahoma ($1,582), Alabama ($1,548) and Delaware ($1,505).

“Combined, the recent tax law’s repeal of the individual mandate and the administration’s short-term plan rule will undermine the individual insurance market and increase premiums for ACA-compliant coverage,” the report concluded.

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