Obamacare Premiums Likely to Spike 15 Percent Next Year

Average premiums for individually purchased health insurance will grow around 15 percent next year, largely because of marketplace nervousness over whether President Donald Trump will block federal subsidies to insurers, Congress’ nonpartisan fiscal analyst projected Thursday.

The Congressional Budget Office estimate comes as Trump has repeatedly threatened to halt the payments in his drive to dismember President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

The agency said 2018 premiums will grow “largely because of short-term market uncertainty — in particular, insurers’ uncertainty about whether federal funding for certain subsidies that are currently available will continue to be provided.”

It also attributed the projected increase to growing numbers of people living in regions where only one insurer sells policies, therefore facing less competition.

Obama’s law requires insurers to reduce out-of-pocket costs like deductibles for lower-earning customers, and mandates that the government reimburse the companies. It costs the government about $7 billion annually.

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