Modest Premium Increases, Some Reductions, Projected for ACA Health Plans Next Year

Health Insurance Marketplace plans appear poised to offer only slightly higher premiums during 2019, according to an exclusive analysis conducted by the Associated Press and the consulting firm Avalere Health.

As noted in the AP’s report, “The analysis found a 3.6 percent average increase in proposed or approved premiums across 47 states and Washington, D.C., for next year. This year the average increase nationally was about 30 percent.”

Insurance companies have figured out how to operate ACA plans at a profit, allowing some insurers to actually cut premiums for the coming year, It has also helped that enrollments remained fairly steady during 2018 despite a shorter open enrollment period and fewer efforts to assist people with signing up for coverage.

But even as the ACA market is stabilizing, the law widely referred to as Obamacare faces a new set of threats. The most serious of these is Texas v Azar, in which 20 governors and state attorneys general are asking a federal judge to declare the entire law unconstitutional.

Arguments in that case were heard on September 5, after which U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor refused to issue the injunction requested by the plaintiffs. The judge did, however, express sympathy with the central argument that lifting when Congress lifted the requirement for most adults to purchase health coverage if their employer did not provide it, the lawmakers also rendered several other provisions of the ACA invalid or unenforceable.

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