The Next Round of Obamacare Regulations are Coming Soon: What Consumer Advocates Want to See

With the annual rule on marketplace operations and health plans expected this fall, we take a look at how consumer advocates responded to the Trump administration’s request earlier this summer on how it could reduce the regulatory burdens of the Affordable Care Act in the last of our three-part series. These comments, along with comments from insurers and state officials, may be used to inform future rulemaking, including the rule expected this fall.
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State Options Blog Series: Federal Regulators Relax ACA Health Plan Oversight, Creating Opportunities and Challenges for States

In the second of a multi-part blog series on state options in the wake of federal actions to roll back or relax Affordable Care Act regulation, Sabrina Corlette reviews the new approach to health plan management in the federally run marketplaces. She discusses the implications for consumers and what state insurance regulators may need in order to enhance health plan oversight. Continue reading

States Take the Lead with Policies to Protect Residents with Chronic Conditions from High Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs

Lowering the cost of prescription medication has broad support over the political spectrum and there were many campaign promises to reduce prices. But to date, there’s been little federal action. States, however, are taking the lead with policies designed to protect consumers with chronic conditions from high out-of-pocket costs associated with expensive specialty drugs. A new CHIR brief details the findings from a 50-state survey of such policies and observations from supplementary interviews with state regulators, insurance company representatives and consumer advocates. Continue reading

Recent and Potential Regulatory Actions to Roll Back the ACA: State Options Blog Series

While members of Congress debate possible bipartisan actions on the ACA, the future sustainability of the ACA’s consumer protections and markets also depend on regulatory and administrative actions. CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette reviews a series of recent actions by HHS to recast the federal approach to health plan oversight and tees up an upcoming series of CHIRblog posts outlining options for states that want to retain some or all of the reforms adopted by the ACA. Continue reading

Down to the Wire: Indecision on ACA Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments Creates Confusion for States

The Trump administration’s indecision over whether to reimburse insurance companies for Affordable Care Act cost-sharing reduction plans has created considerable confusion and complexity for insurers and the state departments of insurance that regulate them. In their latest blog post for The Commonwealth Fund, Sabrina Corlette and Kevin Lucia review the directives that state insurance regulators have provided to their health insurers, and how those directives will likely affect consumers, insurers, and federal taxpayers. Continue reading

Healthcare.gov Rolls out Two Operational Changes Related to Verifying Special Enrollment Periods and Immigration Status

While Congress shifts away from talking about how to replace the Affordable Care Act to stabilizing the individual market, enrollment in ACA marketplaces continues. Recently, the administration made two operational changes affecting federally facilitated marketplaces and states using healthcare.gov: phase 2 of pre-verifying special enrollment eligibility and a process to electronically resolve data matching issues related to immigration status. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn summarizes the changes. Continue reading

Future of Health Reform: A prescription for individual market stability

As policy uncertainty in Washington, DC roils health insurance markets nationwide, states like Minnesota are stepping up to preserve consumer coverage choices and keep premiums affordable. In a conference at the University of Minnesota School of Public Affairs sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette joined in a wide-ranging discussion with state leaders over the future of the ACA. BCBSM’s Laura Kaslow shares some takeaways from the event. Continue reading

Lots of Questions but Few Answers: NAIC’s 2017 Summer Meeting

State insurance regulators met for the NAIC’s annual summer meeting in Philadelphia last week amidst continued uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act. CHIR’s JoAnn Volk was there to observe the action and report out on how states are working to protect consumers and keep their insurance markets stable in spite of many unanswered questions from federal officials. Continue reading