U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Premium Reduction Act of 2019, legislation that would increase the affordability of health insurance in the individual market by supporting and expanding state-based programs that have been proven to lower premiums and save consumers money. This legislation supports state-based health insurance market stabilization programs that would lower insurance premiums for consumers by up to 30 percent in the individual market
"The Affordable Care Act has provided healthcare for the first time to millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of West Virginians, including people living with pre-existing conditions. It's for that reason that I have always been against repealing the Affordable Care Act, but I have never and will never pretend that it's perfect. That's why I've been working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to come up with bipartisan solutions that will make healthcare more affordable and more accessible for all Americans. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Premium Reduction Act which will help states establish reinsurance programs that will help lower premiums to keep health insurance affordable. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this bipartisan bill to ensure that Americans have access to healthcare. This bill should give Americans hope that Republicans and Democrats can put aside politics and work together in the best interest of our country," said Senator Manchin.
"The exploding cost of health care is creating a major burden on millions of American families, and increasing the affordability of health care is one of my highest priorities -- whether it's addressing high health insurance premiums, high out-of-pocket expenses, or high prescription drug costs. The 11.5 million Americans, including the 78,000 individuals in Maine, who are insured in the individual market have seen their premiums rise exponentially," said Senator Collins. "Despite the frustration and division surrounding health care reform, many members from both sides of the aisle are committed to reducing health costs. I urge our colleagues to join Senator Manchin and me in supporting this bill, which would help extend and fund insurance programs that we know will save affected Americans money."
Leading healthcare experts at Oliver Wyman predict that the Premium Reduction Act of 2019 would lower Americans' average health insurance premiums in the individual market by as much as 30 percent. In addition, more than a million more individuals would have health insurance that they now lack.
Thus far, seven states -- Maine, Alaska, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Wisconsin -- have established similar stabilization programs to help offset the costs of covering consumers with high medical expenses. According to the healthcare experts at Avalere, the programs in these seven states reduced premiums in the individual market by 20 percent compared to what they otherwise would have been, and saved taxpayers nearly $1 billion in funding in the first year alone.
The Premium Reduction Act of 2019 is endorsed by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). A consortium of healthcare providers, insurers, and stakeholders -- joined by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- also circulated a letter recently calling proposals like the Premium Reduction Act of 2019 a "commonsense solution to significantly lower premiums."