The Trump administration on Thursday gave insurers three more weeks to submit premium rate requests for coverage sold under Obamacare, according to a memo from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The original deadline of Aug. 16 was pushed back to Sept. 5 for plans sold on healthcare.gov, the site 39 states use. It comes at a time when insurers are waiting to find out what will happen to subsidies they have been receiving under the law.
The payments, called cost-sharing reduction subsidies, are mired in a legal battle that began under the Obama administration, and President Trump has said he would consider cutting them off. They help insurers offer lower out-of-pocket medical costs to customers, and without them, insurers have said, that they would either look to exit the exchanges as soon as they are able, dropping people from coverage, or would file rates for next year that are roughly 20 percent higher than they otherwise would be.
The Trump administration had said that it was waiting to see what would happen with Obamacare repeal-and-replace efforts in Congress before deciding what to do with the payments. After Republican efforts failed last month, some members of the Senate called for bipartisan solutions to stabilize the exchanges, including through appropriating the subsidies. Without knowing what will happen to them, insurers aren’t sure what to charge or what kind of enrollment to expect.
The document about the change in deadline indicated that uncertainty over the payments would continue.