(Washington Examiner) President Trump’s decision to cut off Obamacare payments to insurers has driven up the number of zero-cost plans being sold to customers for 2018.
The move to stop the cost-sharing reduction subsidies has led to higher tax credits for low-income customers, which in turn has led to an increase in the number of cheap Obamacare plans available for no premium but high deductibles.
The eligibility for a zero-cost plan varies depending on where an enrollee lives and how much he or she makes.
For instance, 2,436 counties in the U.S. offer free bronze plans — the cheapest of Obamacare’s four metal tiers — to a 40-year-old making $20,000 a year, according to an analysis from the health research organization Kaiser Family Foundation.
A separate analysis from Kaiser found that 4.5 million uninsured people are eligible for plans with zero-dollar premiums.
“There were certainly cases previously where zero premium bronze plans were available to people receiving tax credits, but the availability has increased dramatically for 2018,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president for Kaiser.
The website Health Sherpa, which helps people find Obamacare plans, found that in the first two weeks of open enrollment, 18 percent of all enrollees found a plan with no premiums and 51 percent found plans for $50 or less a month. Nearly 2.3 million people signed up for Obamacare in the first 18 days of open enrollment, the Trump administration said Wednesday.
Levitt attributed the boon of zero-cost plans to President Trump’s decision to halt cost-sharing reduction payments last month. The payments reimburse insurers for a requirement to lower co-pays and deductibles for low-income Obamacare customers…