Arizona insurers planned for Trump's ending of payments

PHOENIX (AP) - The two insurance companies selling individual health insurance plans on federal exchanges in Arizona planned for the possibility that President Donald Trump would end payments that help cut costs for lower-income clients.

Health Net designed its 2018 rates anticipating the payments would end. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona did not but considered the possibility and said it would remain profitable even if the payments ended.

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Health Net is raising its rates by less than 2 percent next year. Blue Cross is lowering them by 1 percent.

The Trump Administration announced late Thursday that it would end the "cost-sharing reduction" payments. Insurers are required to help lower-income clients with deductibles and co-pays and the federal government has been reimbursing them.

Arizona insurers received $75 million in federal payments in 2016.

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