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The HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Health premiums will spike 20 percent if Trump cuts off insurance payments


Health insurance premiums will increase by 20 percent if President Trump follows through on his threats to end cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

CBO estimated that stopping the payments would lead to 1 million more Americans without insurance next year and it would increase the federal deficit by $194 billion by 2026.

The report said some carriers would withdraw from the Obamacare individual exchanges if the payments stopped and estimated about 5 percent of people would be left without any options on the exchanged by 2018.

However, the CBO also estimated that more insurers would participate in the markets again by 2020 to cover more people, and that by then there would actually be 1 million fewer uninsured Americans.

Trump has threatened to cut off "bailouts" for insurance companies known as cost-sharing reductions. The payments help insurers offer low-cost plans to people with expensive health care needs. Health care policy experts have said stopping the payments would trigger a death spiral causing the individual insurance markets to implode.

Insurers have been asking Congress and the White House to give them clarity on whether or not the payments, which total about $7 billion for fiscal year 2017, will continue.


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