California: Trump Sabotage Will Add 14% to 2018 Health Premiums

California has one of the most successful Obamacare exchanges in the country. Partly this is because California is a big state, which makes it a competitive place for health insurers. But it’s also because California is a liberal state and has done everything it can to make its exchange work well. That pays off.

Today, California announced rate increases for 2018. Here’s a summary:

  • All 11 insurers who are in the market are staying in 2018.
  • The price of the lowest-priced silver plan will go up 9.2 percent.
  • This includes a one-time hit of 2.8 percent thanks to the implementation of ACA’s health insurance tax. Without that, the increase would be 6.4 percent.
  • If consumers shop around, the average rate increase is 3.3 percent.
  • Thanks to Donald Trump’s playground attempts to sabotage Obamacare by playing coy over preserving CSR subsidies for the poor, “all health plans in Covered California will add a surcharge of the amount needed to cover the costs of the CSR subsidy program to their on-exchange Silver-tier products.” The surcharge varies by region and insurer, but averages about 14 percent on top of the nominal rate increase.
  • The surcharge will go away if Trump confirms that CSR subsidies will continue.

Of course, federal subsidies will go up too in 2018. Families with modest incomes—who make up 87 percent of the total—will see little or no net rate increase in 2018.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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