In summary

California’s Obamacare exchange, Covered California, is struggling to respond to uncertainty over whether the Trump administration will continue to support the health care program.

California’s Obamacare exchange, Covered California, is struggling to respond to uncertainty over whether the Trump administration will continue to support the health care program.

Not only is the exchange’s board increasing its marketing effort by $5 million, but it’s also going to allow insurers to make higher profits if they lose money due to uncertainty or changes in federal policy.

“The lack of clarity and direction at the federal level continues to be a challenge,” Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, told California Healthline. “While we are doing our best to manage a difficult situation, we hope Congress and the administration will provide clear guidance on how (they intend) to stabilize the individual insurance market.”

Covered California is gearing up to begin open enrollment Nov. 1.

President Trump had threatened to withhold the August subsidy payments for insurers that low-income members rely on. Last week, the administration said it would pay the subsidies this month—but made no promises about the future.

The board was also set to finalized premiums for 2018 last week, but now it’s put off that decision for another month. Covered California has proposed an average increase of 12.5 percent and also considered an additional surcharge of 12.4 percent on silver plans if the administration does not keep its end of the bargain.

To reach consumers and make sure they re-up their insurance or sign up for the first time, Covered California will spend $111.5 million on marketing, including  and it will radio and television spots and direct mail.

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Elizabeth Aguilera

Elizabeth Aguilera is an award-winning multimedia journalist who covers health and social services for CalMatters. She joined CalMatters in 2016 from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she...