Trump administration halts billions in insurance payments under Obamacare

Fargo North Dakota. President Trump held a campaign style

The announcement was made by Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and was precipitated by a New Mexico court ruling that suggested the calculations for the risk-adjusted premiums were flawed even despite a MA ruling that validated them.

CMS provided a timeline, noting that after the February 28 decision by the New Mexico federal court, it filed a motion for reconsideration, and on June 21 the court held a hearing on it. CMS is waiting for the court's ruling, it said.

"We were disappointed by the court's recent ruling", Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers the program, told The Wall Street Journal in a statement.

The Trump administration is halting billions of dollars in payments required under the ACA, citing a district court decision in New Mexico from earlier this year.

The court's ruling bars the agency from collecting or making payments under the current methodology, which uses a statewide average premium, said CMS, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The funds were expected to go out this fall, the Journal reports.

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the trade organization representing health insurers, decried the suspension of the payments.

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"This decision will have serious consequences for millions of consumers who get their coverage through small businesses or buy coverage on their own".

"So much uncertainty put in the market at this point of time is very unnerving", said Ritu Agarwal, senior associate dean of research at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business, who follows the health care system. Unlike with other ObamaCare subsidy programs, risk adjustment payments shuffle money from insurers with relatively healthy populations to others.

President Barack Obama's signature law, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in March 2010.

Risk adjustment is a key aspect of market stabilization under the ACA, also known as Obamacare. The cuts to grass-roots groups around the country was announced three days after health officials revealed that, because of a pending lawsuit, they were suspending a program created by the law to even out the burden on health insurers whose customers are especially unhealthy or sick.

But CareFirst and Kaiser could ask to adjust their rates higher given the Trump administration's decision.

The outcome of the decision could send premiums soaring and insurers running for the exits on the ACA exchanges. Insurers were entering or returning to at least a dozen states for 2019 enrollment, while others were expanding their presence in the states in which they operate.

The Trump administration has halted billions of dollars of Obamacare payments to insurers due to a court ruling.

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