California: Trump Sabotage Will Add 14% to 2018 Health Premiums

California has one of the most successful Obamacare exchanges in the country. Partly this is because California is a big state, which makes it a competitive place for health insurers. But it’s also because California is a liberal state and has done everything it can to make its exchange work well. That pays off.

Today, California announced rate increases for 2018. Here’s a summary:

  • All 11 insurers who are in the market are staying in 2018.
  • The price of the lowest-priced silver plan will go up 9.2 percent.
  • This includes a one-time hit of 2.8 percent thanks to the implementation of ACA’s health insurance tax. Without that, the increase would be 6.4 percent.
  • If consumers shop around, the average rate increase is 3.3 percent.
  • Thanks to Donald Trump’s playground attempts to sabotage Obamacare by playing coy over preserving CSR subsidies for the poor, “all health plans in Covered California will add a surcharge of the amount needed to cover the costs of the CSR subsidy program to their on-exchange Silver-tier products.” The surcharge varies by region and insurer, but averages about 14 percent on top of the nominal rate increase.
  • The surcharge will go away if Trump confirms that CSR subsidies will continue.

Of course, federal subsidies will go up too in 2018. Families with modest incomes—who make up 87 percent of the total—will see little or no net rate increase in 2018.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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