Health insurance carriers scramble to recalculate rates for 2018

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Health insurance rates were already set to rise next year in North Dakota, but with last week’s news from the White House that it won't be making the Cost Share Reduction, or CSR payments those numbers could be even higher.

Health Insurance premiums in the state were going to rise, as high as 22 percent for some individual plans, but now health insurance carriers are scrambling trying recalculate rates for 2018.

North Dakotans will be paying more for health insurance in 2018, that much we know. How much is a different question.

Insurance Commissioner John Godfread's office released the official rates for 2018 premiums just over a week ago. Rates were set to rise across the board, some individual plans would be hit fairly hard.

But then came Friday's announcement from the president, the Federal Government would not be making Cost Share Reduction payments to insurance companies. That's sent everyone scrambling.

"The next 24 hours or so we've got to make some decisions on what it's going to look like going forward if those CSR payments aren't made," said Godfread.

Reaction from Washington has been mixed from the state's delegation.

"This makes no sense, and we're going to fight with everything that we have to reverse this administrative decision," said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

"It's the opportunity now for congress to go about its business to do an appropriation, and I hope we will, I expect we will but with that appropriation will come some policy changes designed not to prop Obamacare up, but rather to fix it," said Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

No matter what happens with the CSR payments, open enrollment to buy health insurance begins on Nov. 1 and runs through Dec 15.

Godfread says those who will be impacted the most by the CSR non payments will be individuals who do not receive subsidies from the federal government to buy health care.