ACHP Media Monitoring Report: February 15, 2017

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Trump administration releases market stabilization rule
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a proposed rule today that aims to stabilize the individual market. The proposed rule would alter the timing of open enrollment and change standards for special enrollment periods to increase incentives for individuals to remain insured and improve the risk pool. Drew Armstrong at Bloomberg has the story. Read ACHP’s statement on the proposed regulations.

Humana to stop selling on ACA individual marketplace
Humana has announced it will withdraw entirely from the individual marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) beginning in 2018. The insurer cites high losses due to an unbalanced risk pool as the primary reason for withdrawing from the marketplace and notes it has already paid out more than expected for 2017 policies. Tami Luhby of CNN Money reports.

IRS allows individuals to skip individual mandate question on taxes
An IRS rule that previously would have required individuals to indicate on their tax returns whether they had insurance coverage under the ACA will not be implemented. The IRS has decided not to apply the rule because of President Trump’s executive order instructing federal agencies to ease the regulatory burdens of the ACA. Peter Suderman, writing for Reason blog Hit and Run, explains.

Cigna ends merger with Anthem and seeks $13 billion in damages
In the wake of a federal antitrust suit blocking the merger between Cigna and Anthem, Cigna has announced it is ending its merger agreement and will seek damages on top of a $1.85 billion break-up fee. Cigna is suing for $13 billion on the grounds shareholders would have received that amount under the merger agreement. Anthem disputes Cigna’s right to end the merger and alleges Cigna has deliberately undermined the process. Shelby Livingston of Modern Healthcare has the story.

Republicans consider increasing short-term Medicaid funding
Republican lawmakers are aiming to overhaul Medicaid, but they may have to increase funding for the program before making budget cuts. Some Republicans are considering upping Medicaid spending in the short term as a reward for states that did not expand the program. The increase in funds would create parity between states that chose to expand Medicaid and those that did not. Jennifer Haberkorn and Rachana Pradhan at Politico have the story.

Nominee for CMS administrator’s business questioned
Seema Verma, President Trump’s pick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, advised Vice President Mike Pence on health care policies during his time as governor of Indiana. The Associated Press reports Verma’s business agreements are being called into question because companies her firm had consulting contracts with also had a financial stake in the health policies on which she advised Pence.