Major Obamacare insurer Centene doesn’t think the loss of the law’s individual mandate in 2019 will affect business that much.
The comments from Centene’s leadership during an earnings call Tuesday comes as Congress is eyeing legislation to help insurers mitigate possibly millions from dropping off insurance rolls without the mandate’s requirement for everyone to get insurance.
Centene’s CEO Michael Neidorff said a majority of the company’s Obamacare insurance marketplace customers get tax subsidies. They are likely to still be customers because the cost of health insurance is either very low or free.
“The individual mandate has very low impact because of the level of coverage our population will receive,” he said. “Our growth in the overall marketplace and how we are executing on it we don’t see any reason why that is gonna change in 2019.”
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that up to 13 million people would not get health insurance over the next decade due to repeal of the mandate. The tax reform bill that passed last year repeals the mandate in 2019.
CBO projected insurers will raise premiums on Obamacare’s marketplaces by 10 percent each year starting in 2019. However, CBO is taking another look at its estimates for calculating insurance coverage due to the individual mandate and a new estimate is expected this year.
Centene’s comments come as Congress is eyeing two Obamacare stabilization bills aimed in part at blunting the impact of the loss of the mandate.
Overall the insurer’s total revenues increased by 19 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, with the insurer earning $48.4 billion. Part of the reason for the revenue boost was growth in the company’s Obamacare business.
The company said in January that more than 1.4 million people paid for Obamacare a boost of more than 200,000 since last year, according to a report in Reuters.
Centene also expanded its Obamacare offerings for 2018 into three states: Nevada, Kansas and Missouri. This brings its total states up to 13.