The agency noted that people who have obtained health coverage through Obamacare marketplaces “are facing significant premium increases” and are “also dealing with fewer plans to choose from and a continuous stream of” insurers exiting those marketplaces.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said, “We are looking for valuable feedback on how to change existing regulations in ways that put patients first, promote greater consumer choice, enhance affordability and return more control over health care to the states.”
The request for comment is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Monday. Members of the public will be able to make comments online for 30 days.
CMS in recent months has made several other moves to tweak the Obamacare regulatory system. Those changes are not dependent on approval by Congress, which is considering a Republican-backed plan to change Obamacare by law. It is not clear now that the GOP will be able to pass such a plan this year.
In April, CMS issued a final rule that it said will “increase choices and encourage stability in the health insurance market for 2018.”
That rule reduced the next annual open enrollment period in Obamacare individual plans by a month and a half. It will now run from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.
The rule also allows insurers to require customers to pay past-due back premiums before they enroll in a plan with the same insurer the following year, and requires people to submit supporting documents if they seek to sign up for health coverage during special enrollment periods outside of open enrollment.
In May, CMS said it would remove a technical hurdle in how online insurance brokers sign up customers in plans sold on HealthCare.gov, the federal Obamacare marketplace that serves the majority of states.
Also last month, CMS said it would propose that HealthCare.gov stop enrolling people in health plans available for businesses that have 50 or fewer full-time workers. CMS’ proposal would allow HealthCare.gov to continue determining the eligibility of businesses for the Small Business Health Options Program. But those businesses would have to buy coverage for their workers from an insurance agent or broker, or directly from an insurance company.
Although CMS has said it wants to encourage stability in the insurance market, critics of the Trump administration have accused it of trying to sabotage Obamacare markets.
On Thursday, the insurance commissioner of Washington state said the administration and Congress have eroded confidence among the nation’s insurers by calling for a repeal of Obamacare, and for refusing to guarantee billions of dollars in federal payments to insurers for key subsidies to low-income customers. Washington is losing two insurers in its Obamacare markets next year, and will see the number of individual health plans available to customers cut by more than half.
Watch: McConnell says health care bill close