Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

ACA plans are safe in Delaware, but millions in federal subsidies are not

Delaware Public Media

Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act.


If it succeeds, it could cost ACA policyholders in the First State millions of dollars in federal subsidies.


Premium rates are dropping again in Delaware’s Affordable Care Act Marketplace. 


Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware president Nick Moriello says this is because of a new reinsurance program implemented last year - as well as a stabilization of the markets.


“Every year that goes by, the Affordable Care Act and the marketplace just becomes more of a fabric of our culture and more awareness If you think back to those early year years where I mentioned there weren’t quite as many enrollees, folks maybe just didn’t have an awareness that it existed or how to go about going through the process.”


Moriello says premiums were higher before because those who didn’t have health insurance before the ACA would enroll and then cash in on all the medical issues they couldn’t previously afford to treat.


But, Moriello warns the COVID-19 pandemic could mean more people skip going to the doctor again, and that might mean higher premiums next year if people cash in again once the pandemic subsides.


Plans this year may also offer integrated adult dental and vision insurance, a new offering after a successful rollout in Pennsylvania’s ACA market last year.


Moriello urges current ACA enrollees to take a look at the marketplace every year, in case they can find a better deal, or a plan with more benefits.


Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is the only Affordable Care Act health insurance provider in the First State after Aetna pulled out back in 2017.


Around 26 thousand Delawareans rely on the ACA for their healthcare, and according to Highmark, over 75 percent of plan members are eligible for federal subsidies and tax credits.


If the ACA is struck down, Delawareans won’t lose access to their ACA plans because of state laws protecting them, but could lose all their financial assistance.


“If that were to be struck down, what happens to the folks who are receiving those credits,” Says Moriello. “It may create a financial barrier for them to continue forward with their plans.”


Premiums in Delaware have gone down in the past two years because of a stabilization of the markets. But with the pandemic and the potential loss of federal subsidies, the markets could once again go out of whack, and premiums could rise.


Moriello adds if conditions improve, that could mean a further reduction in premiums, only if there isn’t a mass exodus of people relying on federal subsidies. 

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
Related Content