ACAP Comment Letter to HELP Committee on Continued CSR Funding

September 29, 2017

The Honorable Lamar Alexander
Chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Patty Murray
Ranking Member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray:

On behalf of enrollees that receive coverage from Qualified Health Plans (QHPs), the providers who serve them, and the insurance organizations that provide this coverage, we write to urge you to return to the bipartisan efforts that arose through the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) hearings regarding the stabilization of the individual market—primarily, to quickly assure continued federal funding for consumers’ cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) for the Marketplace.

Meaningful, achievable, bipartisan solutions should be considered and implemented to stabilize the individual marketplace. As was emphasized in testimony from health care stakeholders, State Insurance Commissioners, and Governors alike during previous Committee hearings, the question of whether CSR funding will be continued must be quickly answered to stabilize the individual market and provide consumers accessible, affordable coverage moving forward.

Many issuers have raised rates above and beyond what they otherwise would have to account for a potential loss of CSR funding during 2018. However, not all states or issuers have made the same assumptions, which has led to not only significant variance in rates or ability to withstand instability and potential mid-year changes in 2018, but may mean a loss of additional issuers for 2019. Moreover, the federal government is likely to spend more on increased advance premium tax credits (APTC) for “silver-loaded” plans than it would have had it simply funded CSRs.

At its core, a lack of guaranteed CSR funding means a lack of certainty for issuers. This continued uncertainty has already led to premium increases for Marketplace plans. It will exacerbate the issues of declining affordable coverage options for Americans, higher burdens of uncompensated care for providers, and deteriorating issuer stability in the individual market. We call on Congress to act and provide certainty to issuers by continuing CSR funding.

CSR funding is already incorporated into the current Congressional baseline. Accordingly, we call on Congress to take action on individual market stabilization through the bipartisan solution of continued funding for CSRs before it is too late. We remain committed to ensuring access to affordable coverage for all Americans and working with you on a bipartisan solution to ensure the stability of the Marketplace.

View the full letter here »