5. CMS takes a victory lap on ACA premiums
“Affordable Care Act premiums are going down” is a headline no one's ever seen before, so it’s no surprise the Trump administration is trying to take credit for the change.
Driving the news: The administration announced yesterday that premiums for a "benchmark" plan will drop by an average of 1.5% next year in the federally run ACA marketplaces — the first time that’s happened since it launched.
- The fine print: This is the average premium for a 27-year-old single nonsmoker. Actual premiums will vary based on your age and where you live.
What they're saying: Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said premiums are lower because the Trump administration has approved several state reinsurance programs — and opened the door to cheaper options like short-term plans and association health plans.
Reality check: Reinsurance has almost certainly held premiums down. But short-term plans, like the nullification of the individual mandate, aren't contributing to lower ACA premiums. State regulators have said their premiums would be lower without those policy changes.
- Insurers also priced a lot of those expensive policies into this year's premium hikes, which averaged out to a whopping 37%. Having those increases in the bank is part of the reason premiums can go down now.