MEDIA RELEASE: Blue Cross Confirms Trump’s Sabotage Will Cause Higher Premiums for North Carolinians in 2018

Ending subsidy payments to insurers raises company’s premium increase from “near zero” to 14.1 percent

RALEIGH (October 18, 2017) — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced today that it would raise its premiums by an average of 14.1 percent for individual market plans in 2018. The company stated that their average premium increase would have been “near zero” were it not for the Trump administration’s recent actions to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

As we’ve previously warned, North Carolina consumers are the ones who will suffer from the Trump administration’s decision to end payments to insurance companies that compensate them for providing discounted plans under the ACA.

Blue Cross states it plainly in their press release:

…ending these federal reimbursements will drive up premium costs and make it harder for insurers to participate in the ACA marketplace in the long run. Had [Cost-Sharing Reduction] payments not been eliminated, Blue Cross NC’s final rate request for ACA customers’ average would have been near zero; however, most customers receiving premium assistance will see that assistance rise in 2018 to offset the higher increase that was needed.

“Earlier efforts to undermine enrollment—shortening the Open Enrollment period to only six weeks, cutting funding for outreach and enrollment assistance, using taxpayer dollars to create anti-ACA videos, etc.—destabilized the insurance markets in ways that some consumers may have not yet noticed,” said Brendan Riley, policy analyst for the NC Justice Center’s Health Advocacy Project. “But Trump’s decision to end the cost-sharing payments is directly driving Blue Cross to increase their premiums by double digits. North Carolinians will face higher prices for their health care in 2018, and they have no one to blame but the Trump administration.”

Most North Carolinians still qualify for financial assistance and can find affordable options despite the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine enrollment and raise costs. Every consumer should shop around on www.HealthCare.gov for better plans and prices during the shortened Open Enrollment period from November 1 to December 15 this year. Free in-person enrollment assistance is available at www.NCNavigator.net and 1-855-733-3711.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT Brendan Riley, brendan@ncjustice.org; Julia Hawes, julia@ncjustice.org, 919.863.2406.

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