Covered CA Sees Big Rate Hike–But Not from Trump’s Legal Moves

Covered California’s premiums are expected to rise significantly next year. But the head of the state’s insurance exchange said the Trump administration’s legal bid to dismantle protections for people with preexisting medical conditions will likely not contribute to the increases.

Health plans will only be “pricing for the changes that they can absolutely see,” Peter Lee, executive director of the agency, said Wednesday. And because the legal challenge will take time to work its way through the courts, California will have “an opportunity to implement state protections” should they be needed, Lee said.

In fact, Californians would already be temporarily cushioned by existing state rules that protect people with preexisting conditions for 12 months if that portion of the Affordable Care Act is struck down. The preexisting conditions clause prohibits insurers from refusing coverage to people with prior illnesses, or charging them more because of it.

Last week, the administration announced it would not defend the key pillars of the healthcare law in court. It argued that those provisions, including the law’s protection for people with preexisting conditions, should be declared unconstitutional. (read more)