Alliance of Community Health Plans poll: 70% of voters back a national reinsurance program

Voters back a nationwide reinsurance program, according to a new poll, especially when they learn more about it. 

The poll (PDF) of about 2,200 adults found that 70% support a national reinsurance program aimed at reducing premiums. 

In addition, 75% of respondents said Congress should help states stabilize their individual marketplaces and lower premiums. 

Ceci Connolly
ACHP President Ceci Connolly (ACHP)

"It's clear that value is a top healthcare issue for Americans," ACHP President Ceci Connolly, said in an announcement.

"People want action—they want leaders from both parties to come together to provide some certainty that affordable healthcare options will be there when they need them." 

Those surveyed were more likely to support reinsurance after learning more about how it works and hearing success stories about states, such as Alaska, which created its own reinsurance program

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Connolly added that Congress should act swiftly to fund reinsurance. ACHP is not alone among insurance industry groups calling for action on reinsurance—the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has said that funding reinsurance is crucial step to create more stability in the Affordable Care Act's exchanges. 

"Americans need premiums they can afford," Connolly said. "Now is the time to act." 

Bills aimed at ACA stabilization in both the House and Senate include funding for reinsurance. A Senate bill co-sponsored by Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., would allocate funds for state-based reinsurance programs, while Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., backs similar legislation in the lower chamber. 

There is a growing push within the GOP to back reinsurance. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who chairs the House Energy and Finance Committee, said that Costello's bill is fair and grants states much-needed flexibility. 

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Lawmakers are down to the wire if they're serious about passing ACA stabilization legislation. What's expected to be the year's final temporary spending bill is due in late March, and insurers will begin making preliminary decisions on ACA exchange participation and rates in April. 

Payers predict a dramatic increase in 2019 rates if Congress doesn't act to stabilize the markets soon.