NC healthcare navigators fear rise in premiums for some enrolled in Obamacare

Photo: WLOS staff

In Asheville, attorneys at Pisgah Legal Services, who've helped hundreds get insurance, worry that low-income families and people with pre-existing conditions could see their premiums jump.

Although, they say, that would not happen immediately.

President Trump tweeted Friday morning saying that Obamacare is "imploding," and "massive subsidy payments to their pet insurance companies has stopped."

In simple terms, Jackie Kiger of Pisgah Legal said, subsidies to insurance companies are what allow them to keep premiums low, and that's what's in jeopardy. But there is no immediate threat for North Carolinians, and costs for premiums won't go up immediately.

"This is a process that is months out," Kiger said. "And so there are no changes happening here in North Carolina at this moment."

What Kiger warns is that people with pre-existing conditions, and people insured under the Affordable Care Care (ACA), could see premiums rise at some point if Republicans succeed in getting subsidies to insurance companies permanently cut.

Kiger says the ball has now been thrown to Congress. Republicans want to see more plan options that would have cheaper premiums, but more bare-bones coverage.

Experts have said that could then lead to the bottom falling out on more comprehensive plans where older people and people with pre-existing conditions would see premiums rise.

The federal payments reduce co-pays as well. Reports are that Trump is open to allowing payments to continue if a bipartisan agreement in congress is reached.

Experts also predict state attorney general lawsuits challenging Trump's executive order, so this will be a protracted process.

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