October 22, 2019 / 1:10 PM / a month ago

Trump administration says Obamacare plan premiums to fall

A sign on an insurance store advertises Obamacare in San Ysidro, San Diego, California, U.S., October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Monthly premiums for an average 2020 Obamacare health insurance plan will fall about 4 percent from this year, according to a report released Tuesday by the Trump administration, which has tried to dismantle the program.

The Trump administration has cut back on funding for the health insurance program, which was created by President Barack Obama as part of the Affordable Care Act and is often called Obamacare, and has sought to overturn it in Congress and legal courts. Obamacare provides needs-based subsidies to help low-income people buy health insurance.

The administration has removed the mandate that Americans have health insurance or pay a fee. It also has allowed insurers to start selling insurance that does not have as many benefits as the Obamacare plans, which guarantee a certain level of coverage.

The average monthly premium for a 27-year-old who buys the benchmark “silver” plan will be $388 per month, down from $406 in 2019, the government said in its annual report on the program.

The biggest declines include 20 percent in Delaware, 15 percent in North Dakota and a 14 percent drop in Oklahoma. Wyoming remains the most expensive state, with a premium of $723 per month while New Mexico is the cheapest at $282 per month, both for a 27-year-old.

The total number of issuers will rise to 175 from 155 this year and two states will have a single issuer in 2020, down from five in 2019 and 10 in 2018.

    The premium data applies to the 39 states that use the federally run HealthCare.gov website, where enrollment is between Nov 1 and Dec 15. The other states and Washington D.C. run their own online sites for these plans.

Reporting by Caroline Humer in New York and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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