With Memorial Day 2017 behind us, June is fast approaching. Here’s what to watch for in the coming month:
- Senate health care bill drafting – In the wake of the CBO report released in late May that predicts 23 million more uninsured people within a decade if the House plan as drafted were passed, the Senate continues its health care reform drafting process in June. Consensus will not be easy, particularly on topics like the potential rollback of Medicaid expansion, the extent of state control, allowing less benefits than the current set of minimum health benefits, and how to handle coverage of older/ sicker people and those with pre-existing conditions. It’s also possible that the Senate will consider a short-term solution with more market stabilization measures.
- Deadline for exchange participation — Insurance companies need to submit applications and rates for plans offered on exchanges by June 21st (for this fall’s open enrollment season for a January 2018 effective date). Some companies are already proactively either announcing rate hikes, e.g., BCBS North Carolina, or exiting the market, e.g., BCBS Kansas City. Expect lots more news from insurers in the first few weeks of June. The unknown fate of Cost-Sharing Reductions (CSRs) is potentially the most de-stabilizing factor in their decisions. Last week, House Republicans and the Department of Justice requested another 90-day extension on the pending court case questioning the legality of the CSR subsidies. While the Trump Administration has said it will continue to pay CSRs for the next three months, the fate of them beyond that is unknown.