The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) now says it officially has little hope of collecting more than $362 million in risk corridors program money.
Health insurers have sent in claims for about $2.9 billion in risk corridors receivables.
Drafters of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) developed the program in an effort to use cash from PPACA exchange plan issuers that do well in 2014, 2015 and 2016 to help exchange plan issuers that do poorly in those years.
The program was supposed to encourage insurers to participate in the PPACA exchange plan program, and to keep prices for health coverage as low as possible.
On the one hand, health insurers are run by grownups who understand that Democrats rammed PPACA through Congress without getting even a fig leaf of Republican swing-voter support. Some plans may have been too quick to trust HHS officials’ glowing promises about how the risk corridors program would work.
The HHS officials have weakened any right they have to get any help with bailing the program out by seeming to run the risk corridors program from inside a cave deep in the recesses of the facilities in which federal researchers keep the corpses of invading space aliens in pickle jars.