Langevin, Chu, Ruiz Introduce Bill to Strengthen Health Insurance Market

Oct 15, 2019 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON  U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin (D-RI), Judy Chu (D-CA) and Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) today announced the introduction of the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act in order to help reduce premiums for people who do not get their health insurance through an employer. The bill will improve the stability of individual health insurance markets by creating a permanent program to reduce the impacts of larger than expected health insurance claims.

“The Affordable Care Act was an important first step towards quality, affordable healthcare for all. Unfortunately, Republicans have repeatedly sabotaged the ACA and blocked attempts to strengthen it, causing families in Rhode Island and across the nation to struggle with rising health care costs,” said Congressman Langevin. “My bill will make health care more accessible for individuals and families by alleviating the burden of high premiums and adding much-needed stability to insurance markets.”

“While Republicans try to tear down the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of Americans vulnerable to illness and bankruptcy, we are working to strengthen and improve it,” said Congresswoman Chu. “Our legislation will buttress insurers and guarantee that all Americans are able to cover the costs of their healthcare without crippling premiums. This is better for families, for the healthcare markets, and for our economy.”

“As an emergency physician, I am committed to protecting care for millions of Americans and lowering the costs of health care for working families,” said Dr. Ruiz. “That is why we must pass the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act to stabilize the health care markets and reduce out-of-pocket costs for Americans.”

The market stabilization program established by the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act is designed after a similar program within Medicare Part D that has been successful in fostering competition among insurers, reducing premiums, and expanding access to care. The program would assist insurers facing higher than average claims by providing federal funds to offset a portion of the cost. Federal funding would cover 80% of claims between $50,000 and $450,000 from 2020 to 2022. After 2022, 80% of claims between $100,000 and $400,000 would be covered by federal funds.

Additionally, the bill will encourage new enrollment in qualified health plans by providing $500 million per year from 2020 to 2022 to raise awareness of premium assistance programs through increased public outreach. This funding will be prioritized for regions of the country with a lack of competition within the individual marketplace.

Text of the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act.