Sen. Tom Carper recently introduced the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act to help stabilize the individual health care marketplace and lower premiums.

The act would provide certainty in the marketplace by creating a permanent reinsurance program for the individual health insurance market, similar to the programs used to lower premiums and spur competition in the Medicare Part D program.

This reinsurance program would provide funding to offset larger than expected insurance claims for health insurance companies participating in the state and federal insurance marketplaces, encouraging them to offer more plans in a greater number of markets, improving competition and driving down costs for patients and families. Additionally, the bill would provide $500 million a year from 2018 to 2020 to help states improve outreach and enrollment for the health insurance marketplaces, drawing in new members and educating the public about the need to be insured. This outreach funding prioritizes counties where there are limited insurers left in the marketplace.

The act would:

— Lower premiums, which would then decrease the cost of Advance Premium tax credits.

— Increase competition among insurers.

— Provide funding to states to improve outreach and enrollment in the health insurance marketplaces.

— Provide additional marketplace stability for insurers, providers and patients.

Starting in 2021, federal funding would cover 80 percent of insurance claims between $100,000 and $500,000.

Carper introduced the bill with Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee; Bill Nelson, D-Florida; Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire; Maggie Hassan D-New Hampshire; and Ben Cardin, D-Maryland.

Full text of the act is available at bit.ly/2rwq5t2.