ACA insurers get 3 extra weeks to file final rates for 2018

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 - ACA

CMS has pushed back the deadline for insurers to file their final 2018 rate requests for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges until Sept. 5, giving companies extra time to decide what plans and prices to offer.

This deadline applies only to plans sold in the 39 states which rely on the federal Healthcare.gov exchange. The final deadline for insurers to sign contracts to participate in ACA markets, however, will remain the same: Sept. 27, ahead of beginning of open enrollment on Nov. 1.

The same memo from CMS offered no new guarantees on the cost-sharing reduction (CSR) subsidies. Those have continued to be paid out on a month-to-month basis by the Trump administration, but the possibility of the subsidies being eliminated has been priced into initial rate requests. A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found insurers are tacking on an additional 3 to 10 percent hike to their requests because of the uncertainty around CSRs, with the threat of the individual mandate not being enforced adding another 20 percent.

"At this time, there have been no changes regarding the Department of Health and Human Service's ability to make cost-sharing reduction payments to issuers," the memo stated.

Another analysis of how ending CSRs could affect the ACA marketplace is forthcoming, as the Congressional Budget Office has announced it will release a report on the possibility next week.