Follow KDKA-TV: Facebook | Twitter

WASHINGTON (AP) – Health care insurance customers could be in for some sticker shock over next year’s prices now that the Trump administration says it’s freezing payments under an “Obamacare” program that protects insurers with sicker patients from financial losses.

READ MORE: Allegheny Co. Police Investigating Overnight Shooting In McKees Rocks

The move is expected to add to premium increases next year. At stake are billions of dollars in payments to insurers with sicker customers.

Officials said Saturday that the administration is acting because of conflicting rulings in lawsuits filed by some smaller insurers who question whether they’re being fairly treated.

READ MORE: State Police: Man Shot, Killed By Police After Stabbing Three People, Injuring Police Officer

The program takes payments from insurers with healthier customers and redistributes the money to companies with sicker enrollees. No taxpayer subsidies are involved.

The idea is to remove the financial incentive for insurers to “cherry-pick” healthier customers. Medicare private insurance plans also use the strategy.

MORE NEWS: St. Patrick's Day Parade In Pittsburgh Sees Smaller Crowd For Celebrations In September

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)