Centene urges federal government to keep Obamacare subsidies

Centene Corp., one of the biggest insurers in the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, is urging the federal government to preserve cost-sharing payments for low-income customers to avoid hurting millions of people.

The Clayton-based health insurer said Tuesday a better-than-expected performance in those individual insurance markets enabled it to beat Wall Street expectations in the second quarter and raise its forecast for 2017.

But Chairman and CEO Michael Neidorff, like other insurance executives, is worried about the fate of cost-sharing reduction payments that ease expenses like deductibles for people with low incomes. Money for those payments has made it into Congressional bills that aim to dismantle the Obama-era law, but the fate of that legislation is uncertain.

Republicans have challenged those payments in court, and President Donald Trump has offered no guarantees that they will continue beyond this month.

Neidorff said those payments and some other government support will be crucial to stabilize the exchanges, which have been marred by dwindling choices and soaring prices.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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