Obamacare Premiums Are Going Down for 2020 — and the Trump Administration Is Claiming Credit

Michael Rainey

Affordable Care Act insurance markets are looking stable for 2020, with premiums for benchmark plans set to fall for a second straight year — and some Trump administration officials are touting those developments as a success, even as the administration looks to have the health care law invalidated.

Average premiums for mid-level plans sold on the federal health insurance marketplaces will be lower in 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Tuesday. Specifically, a 27-year-old buying the second least-expensive silver plan will pay 4% less, CMS said, marking the second year in a row the so-called benchmark premium has fallen.

Some other details on the state of Obamacare in 2020, from Politico’s Dan Goldberg:

  • The average premium for the benchmark plan will fall from $406 to $388.
  • About 87% of enrollees will receive subsidies.
  • Of those receiving subsidies, about two thirds will pay less than $75 a month, while one third will pay less than $10.
  • For those not receiving subsidies, more than a third will pay over $500 a month.
  • The median deductible for benchmark plans is more than $4,600, a 3% increase from 2019.
  • Just 12% of enrollees live in a county with only one insurance provider, an improvement over 20% in 2019.
  • Delaware will see a 20% drop in premium costs, the largest reduction nationally.

The Trump administration, which is currently involved in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, was quick to take credit for the dip in premiums. “The President has delivered lower costs and more options under the Affordable Care Act for two straight years,” said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “The ACA simply doesn’t work and it is still unaffordable for far too many. But until Congress gets around to replacing it, President Trump will do what he can to fix the problems created by this system for millions of Americans,” Azar added.

Obamacare supporters rejected the White House claim, attributing the fall in prices to a market that has stabilized despite the administration’s efforts to kill it. Leslie Dach of Protect Our Care, a group that supports Obamacare, said in a statement that “administration deserves zero credit for the success of the ACA. … The success of the ACA, despite Republicans best efforts to repeal it, shows that Americans want and need the affordable quality coverage the law provides.”

Like what you're reading? Sign up for our free newsletter.