States Leaning In: Washington Doubles Down on Efforts to Shore up Market, Protect Consumers

In the wake of federal actions to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s reforms, states have assumed an even greater role in protecting consumers and ensuring market stability. Washington State, a long-time leader in state health insurance reform, has taken up that mantle. Since our last post highlighting Washington’s policy playbook, the state has implemented several more policies to preserve their insurance market and bolster consumer protections. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a look at some of the state’s new developments. Continue reading

Are the Affordable Care Act Markets “Stabilizing”? Early 2020 Rate Filings Give Little Cause for Celebration

Changes in premiums are a key indicator of the overall health of an insurance market. CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette dug into the rate submissions of 2020 individual market health insurers in several states that have publicly released their filings. She finds a less rosy picture than the relatively modest average rate changes might suggest. Continue reading

2019 Insurer Participation: A “Quieter” Year As Companies Maintain, Expand Their Presence

Since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, insurer participation in the ACA marketplaces has fluctuated. As states prepare to enter their annual rate review processes for 2020, CHIR’s Emily Curran and Justin Giovannelli interviewed officials in seven of the state-based marketplaces to understand their strategies for maintaining insurer participation in 2019 and ensuring marketplace competition in the future. Continue reading

Coming up Short: The Problem with Counting Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance as Coverage

In April, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis of federal legislation to reverse the Trump administration’s rule expanding access to short-term, limited duration insurance policies, which do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. CBO estimated that reversing the rule would result in 500,000 people going uninsured, predicated on the assumption that most short-term plans count as “insurance.” For people with preexisting conditions, nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading

Can States Fill the Gap if the Courts Overturn Preexisting-Condition Protections?

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments in litigation over the future of the Affordable Care Act the week of July 8, 2019. If the plaintiffs prevail, millions could lose insurance coverage and millions more will lose preexisting condition protections. In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette and Emily Curran document state-level efforts to preserve the ACA’s insurance market reforms. Continue reading

States Step Up to Protect Insurance Markets and Consumers from Short-Term Health Plans

Short-term plans are now being sold to consumers as a replacement for Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage. However, because these plans are exempt from many consumer protections and ACA rules, a number of states have stepped up to regulate the design and marketing of these plans. In their latest issue brief for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts document recent state action to regulate short-term plans and protect their residents and markets. Continue reading

Protecting People with Preexisting Conditions Requires More Than a Piecemeal Approach: An Assessment of a Louisiana Bill to Codify Some, But Not All, ACA Protections

Several state legislatures are considering bills to re-instate the Affordable Care Act’s preexisting condition protections in the event a federal court invalidates the law in Texas v. Azar. While no state can fully protect consumers from the fallout of a bad court decision, attempts to “bake in” the preexisting protections shouldn’t leave large loopholes for insurance companies to exploit. CHIR experts examine a Louisiana bill that would codify some, but not all, of the ACA’s insurance reforms. Continue reading

April Research Round Up: What We’re Reading

April showers bring May flowers, and plenty of health policy research. This month, CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe reviews studies on the burden of health care costs on families, the affordability of employer-sponsored insurance, the effects of hospital concentration on insurance premiums, and why Medicaid insurers hesitate to sell plans on the Affordable Care Act’s individual market. Continue reading