CMS issued a draft notice last week that pushed the payer deadline for filing applications and rates for participation in insurance exchanges in 2018 from May 3 to June 21.
The deadline for correcting applications has been pushed from June 13 to August 2 and and the government will issue final certification notices by Oct. 12 rather than Oct. 22.
- Meanwhile, the Department of Justice and Congressional Republicans filed a joint motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals to continue a stay of proceedings in a case over Affordable Care Act subsidies.
Over the past several weeks, the Trump administration has taken steps to encourage payer participation in ACA insurance exchanges beyond 2017. Delaying deadlines buys lawmakers more time to solidify health reform plans while a stay of proceedings in the House v. Burwell (now Price) case should keep funds flowing.
Since the November election, health policy experts warned that uncertainty around the future of ACA exchanges could scare off payers and leave millions without coverage. It seems the Trump administration has begun to take those warnings seriously. Just before CMS issued its draft notice delaying deadlines for payers, the agency officially announced proposed rule changes that address several payer concerns.
Continuing subsidies for health plans purchased on ACA exchanges could go a long way to enticing payers to participate. Congressional Republicans had challenged the Obama administration in court over the legality of insurance subsidies. Last year, a judge ruled in favor of Congressional Republicans in the House v. Burwell case, but the Obama administration appealed the decision.
Proceedings have been stalled in the case since December. Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration, which could deal a major blow to the ACA by dropping the appeal, asked the court together to continue the stay of proceedings “to allow time for a resolution that would obviate the need for judicial determination of this appeal, including potential legislative action.”
Despite action taken so far, payers likely still want more clarity when it comes to certain aspects of health policy. For instance, the Internal Revenue Service announced a shift in enforcement of the individual mandate after President Donald Trump directed federal agencies to reduce burdens imposed by the ACA. While the industry awaits additional answers, it does appear that Congressional Republicans and the Trump administration are working in sync and adopting a more measured approach to health reform than they had initially.