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N.M. Insurer Saw Trump's Subsidy Cuts Coming

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President Trump’s decision to cancel cost sharing subsidies to insurance companies has prompted speculation that plans offered under the Affordable Care Act could unravel. Some insurers in New Mexico are saying not to worry yet.

The subsidies Trump is cutting are meant to help offset the costs borne by insurance companies of covering lower income customers. In New Mexico much of the population is low-income, so Trump’s decision has the potential to impact a lot of people.

But Martin Hickey, CEO of the low-cost insurance cooperative New Mexico Health Connections, says at this point it’s too early to be concerned about those impacts.

Hickey says they anticipated this move by the Trump Administration, and raised premium rates to compensate for losing federal subsidies.  That means customers who’ve already bought Health Connections plans on the exchange will feel little to no impact through 2018.

It’s hard to plan beyond that yet, he says, given the continuing uncertainty over what will happen with the health care market in the coming years.

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KUNM's Public Health New Mexico Project is funded by the WK Kellogg Foundation and the McCune Charitable Foundation. Find all KUNM's public health stories at www.publichealthnm.org.

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.