Left in the lurch: Ongoing uncertainty is taking a toll on health insurers

By: Shelby Livingston

For nearly a year, health insurers have operated under a cloud of political and regulatory uncertainty that has taken a toll on finances, and for some, their day-to-day operations.

Even though Congress shifted its focus from bulldozing the Affordable Care Act to stabilizing the troubled individual market in the short term, big questions remain, particularly around future funding for cost-sharing reduction subsidies that insurers say are crucial to steadying that business line.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last week held hearings on how to shore up the individual market in hopes of passing a bill by Sept. 15; that’s so a law can be signed before Sept. 27, when insurers in many states must finalize if, where and for how much they’ll sell coverage.

Senate Democrats, state insurance commissioners, and a group of GOP and Democratic governors urged Senate Republicans to guarantee cost-sharing reduction subsidies for at least two years.