April 16, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) and Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02) introduced the Stop Health Premium Spikes Act, a bill that would help mitigate the drastic health care premium increases expected as a result of the unanticipated surge in medical care costs due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The projected health care costs associated with providing medical care for patients with COVID-19 will be enormous. Because insurers base premiums each year on estimated average health care costs of enrollees, it is difficult to gauge exactly how much more Americans will have to pay for coverage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, experts project health insurance premium prices for next year could increase anywhere between 4 to 40 percent.
The Stop Health Premium Spikes Act would temper these unpredictable premium hikes for consumers by establishing a stop-loss program through Health and Human Services (HHS) that would ensure insurance companies selling health care plans to the individual and small group markets for 2020 and 2021 set accurate premiums during this time of immense uncertainty. The two year program would provide assistance to insurers facing extreme loss in order to minimize spikes in premium pricing and maintain a competitive, stable insurance marketplace.
“At a time when the coronavirus pandemic is already causing substantial strain on families and workers, the last thing Americans should have to worry about is losing access to affordable and reliable health care,” said Rep. Peters. “With forecasts showing the imminent financial burdens weighing on insurers and subsequently enrollees, Congress needs to act before our health care system collapses under the abrupt pressure of COVID-19. The Stop Health Premium Spikes Act aims to support health care insurers facing severe setbacks so they can continue providing their consumers with coverage at fair rates. Uncertainty remains persistent as we combat this crisis and it’s crucial we maintain the insurance marketplaces that serve thousands of people across the country.”
“We cannot allow future health insurance premiums to rise up to 40 percent as a result of the new coronavirus,” said Rep. Angie Craig. “That’s why I’m proud to work with Rep. Peters to look at our immediate and future health care needs. That means acting now to make sure health insurance costs do not skyrocket just as hard-working Americans begin to recover from the economic impacts from the coronavirus.”