CHICAGO — As the Trump Administration continues their sabotage of America’s health care marketplace, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today urged the Illinois Department of Insurance to provide Illinoisans with more information about the concerning proposed Illinois health insurance premium increases for 2018 and to protect Illinoisans from higher costs that result from President Trump’s sabotage of the health care marketplace. Health insurance companies participating in the Illinois marketplace, including Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, have cited President Trump’s threats to stop making cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments as a direct cause for proposed hikes to 2018 premiums. CSR payments help make premiums more affordable for more than 156,000 Illinoisans.
Durbin and Duckworth pressed the Illinois Department of Insurance to do two things: direct insurers to provide information to consumers about the impact of President Trump’s sabotage by re-filing their individual market plans with two sets of proposed rates—one that accounts for continued CSR payments, and another without CSRs; and to channel the increased costs due to CSR uncertainty into silver-tier marketplace plans to ensure that Illinois consumers receive increased premium tax credits—effectively shielding them from higher costs due to CSR uncertainty.
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“We are concerned that the proposed 2018 premium rate increases for Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant plans on the Illinois Individual Marketplace reflect the instability created by congressional Republican efforts to repeal the ACA and the Trump Administration’s sabotage of the marketplace. The mission of the Illinois Department of Insurance is, in part, to ‘protect consumers by providing assistance and information,’ and we believe there are actions you can take—which other states have similarly done—to address these concerns and protect Illinois consumers,” the senators wrote in a letter to Jennifer Hammer, Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance. “Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services extended the filing deadline to accommodate states adopting such consumer protections—we believe it is imperative that Illinois take advantage of this opportunity.”
Along with threatening to stop paying CSR payments, President Trump has issued an Executive Order on his first day in office instructing federal agencies not to enforce the ACA, cut the 2018 open enrollment period in half, and cancelled advertisements and outreach that helped people sign up for insurance – all of which will make it more difficult for people to sign up for health insurance next year on the individual market.
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