by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
When Obamacare was passed, many amendments were made to the 1944 Public Health Services Act, a federal law that outlines different types of health insurance coverage. One of the many additional layers of unhealthy regulations requires insurers in states to sell products based off government price controls – an example being that a high risk individual’s health insurance premium cannot exceed three times the amount of a low-risk policyholder’s.
But because US territories are not defined as “states” in the Public Health Services Act, the administration has officially confirmed that the territories are now off the hook from complying with a slew of the federal health law’s insurance market rules. Insurers in territories are actual victims of Obamacare, as they do not benefit from the law’s back-door subsidy dealings or have the individual mandate playing towards their favor.
From today’s Daily Caller:
The individual mandate and premium subsidies were supposed to bring healthy and young customers into the insurance market. Even in the states, that’s not working nearly as well as the Obama administration had hoped. But without either provisions, the insurance markets in the territories were tanking due to the influx of sick patients and the new benefits insurers were required to provide.
The territories will be exempted from guaranteed coverage, community rating, single risk pools, rate review, the medical loss ratio, and essential health benefits.