"Going forward, we are weighing our options and still evaluating the issues", Alleigh Marré, the spokeswoman, said in a statement.
The payments will continue during the appeals process, which avoids an immediate crisis with the ObamaCare insurance market but still leaves insurers uncertain about the future. House Republicans brought a lawsuit against the Obama administration, arguing it improperly funded the subsidies without a specific appropriation from Congress. Since the American Health Care Act, the GOP bill to replace Obamacare, is now making its way through the legislative process, the joint motion requests another 90-day extension.
On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its revised score of the American Health Care Act, which narrowly passed through the lower chamber on May 4.
The lawsuit is centered around an estimated $7 billion a year in cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) paid to insurance companies.
On Thursday, more than a dozen Democratic state attorneys general sought to intervene in the case due to concerns that the Trump administration is seeking to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.Democratic attorneys general and proponents of Obamacare have said the threats to withhold the payments have already wreaked havoc in the marketplaces and are part of the reason some healthcare consumers have seen double-digit rate increases next year. Some have already said they'll raise premiums in 2018 because of uncertainty around the subsidies.
Finally, conservatives and the Trump administration should shine a bright light on state insurance commissioners' review of premium submissions.
The health insurers' trade association has disputed any characterization of the cost-sharing reduction payments as a "bailout". About 7.1 million of the 12.2 million people who signed up for ACA plans for 2017 were eligible for the extra help. Without the so-called "cost-sharing subsidies", experts say premiums could jump by about 20 percent.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi complained the delay exacerbates "uncertainty in the health coverage of millions of Americans". "At a critical period when insurers are deciding premiums for next year, Republicans are pouring uncertainty into the health insurance marketplaces". Democrats argue that conclusion is based on a faulty reading of the law. "Yeah, it's about making money and providing the service, but it's also about coverage". Insurers offer those discounts up front, but then expect to be reimbursed for them by the federal government. Credit Suisse analyst Scott Fidel said that insurers such as Centene Corp and Molina Healthcare Inc that focus on the low-income families that qualify for these subsidies have the most at risk. "This threatens not just their own health and financial stability, but also the economic stability of their communities". All consumers have to do is purchase a standard silver-level plan, and no additional paperwork is required. Some of the hardest hit states would be Republican-leaning ones that didn't expand Medicaid under the law, because they have more low-income people enrolled in Obamacare plans, Kaiser found. If insurers raised their premiums, it might actually cause US spending on Obamacare to rise, rather than fall, because Obamacare's main subsidies are based on how much premiums cost.
After almost two years of deliberation, Senior Judge of the U.S.District Court for the District of Columbia Rosemary M. Collyer concluded the House's claim had legal standing and allowed the case move forward May 12, 2016.