Tester Sponsors Bill to Stabilize Health Insurance Rates

Senator’s Bill Improves Current Health Care System, Helps Cover Costs for Sickest Americans

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester is taking steps to improve the current health care system by helping to stabilize rates on the health insurance Marketplace despite ongoing attempts by leaders in Congress to rip health care away from tens of thousands of Montanans.

Tester today sponsored the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act to create a new permanent reinsurance program to help cover the claims of the sickest enrollees in the Marketplace. Reinsurance provides insurance companies with financial support to help cover costs incurred by particularly expensive enrollees.

Tester’s bill helps offset the costs to cover patients whose medical claims are unexpectedly expensive-including treatments of long-term or terminal diseases.

“Rather than rip access to health care away from thousands of Montanans or pass a bill drafted in secret that doesn’t address the rising cost of health care, we should be passing commonsense solutions that will improve the current health care system,” Tester said. “By helping to cover the costs of the sickest Americans, we can stabilize rates on the insurance marketplace, increase certainty for insurers, and curb growing of out-of-pocket costs for Montanans.”

Tester’s bill will require the federal government to pay insurers 80 percent of each enrollees’ insurance claims that exceed $50,000 annually. In 2021, that threshold will increase to $100,000 annually.

Tester last week blasted the latest Senate health care proposal, which fails to address the rising cost of health care. Tester is the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation who has held in-person health care town halls during Congress’ attempt to upend the health care system.

Tester is sponsoring multiple bills to improve the current health care system-including the SPIKE Act, which will lower prescription drug costs for Montanans.

Health insurers are facing increased uncertainty as they prepare to finalize 2018 rates for the health insurance Marketplace. The U.S. House of Representatives is suing to end critical cost-sharing reduction payments that help cover the cost of copays and deductibles, and the Trump Administration has refused to commit to continuing these payments. Tester is sponsoring legislation to ensure the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stabilizes health insurance markets by making cost-sharing reduction payments.

Tester is also urging health insurers and the Montana Insurance Commissioner to shed more light on 2018 health insurance costs.