Strengthening the Summary of Benefits and Coverage as a Consumer Tool

Implementing the ACA

The Affordable Care Act requires all insurers to provide a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) so that consumers have a tool to help them understand what is covered under their health plan. Unfortunately, minimal oversight of this requirement has led this tool to be less useful than it could be, at a time many consumers struggle with basic health insurance literacy. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn highlights the efforts of one state – Utah – to strengthen the SBC and make it more meaningful for consumers. Continue reading

Georgetown Navigator Technical Assistance Project: Lessons Learned and Recommendations for Future Enrollment

Implementing the ACA

Georgetown University experts from the Center on Health Insurance Reforms and the Center for Children and Families released this week a report documenting the experiences over the past year working with Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, and others working to enroll consumers in the health insurance marketplaces. JoAnn Volk, Sandy Ahn, Sabrina Corlette and Tricia Brooks share lessons learned and recommendations for future enrollments in a comprehensive report and two video clips. Continue reading

Major Policy Changes Take a Backseat to IT During a Transitional Year for Health Insurance Marketplaces

State of the States

As the health insurance marketplaces prepare for the second year of operation under the Affordable Care Act, IT issues are driving many states’ decisions on whether to operate a state-based marketplace. In their latest blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts Sarah Dash and Kevin Lucia share findings on state IT transitions and major policy actions going into 2015. Continue reading

Employer Coverage Remains Steady, But Long Term Trends Highlight Need To Strengthen All Forms Of Coverage

Implementing the ACA

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that employer coverage is remaining steady, and premiums have increased only modestly. But long term trends suggest an erosion in employer-sponsored health benefits. CHIR’s Sean Miskell takes the pulse of employment-based insurance and emphasizes the need to strengthen all pillars of coverage. Continue reading

Advocates File Civil Rights Complaint with HHS on Coverage Termination Day

Implementing the ACA

Last week, on the day that 115,000 people who bought coverage in the federal marketplace lost that coverage, the National Immigration Law Center filed complaints with HHS’s Office for Civil Rights alleging that the federally facilitated marketplace violated civil rights law and the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination provisions. Our colleague at Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families, Sonya Schwartz, analyzes the concerns that underlie these filings. Continue reading

Taking Stock and Taking Steps to Improve Consumer Assistance

Implementing the ACA

A new report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation chronicles the challenges, innovations and lessons learned about the needs of consumers for assistance in accessing and using health coverage options under the Affordable Care Act. Our partner in our Navigator technical assistance project, the Georgetown Center for Children and Families’ Tricia Brooks, has this overview. Continue reading

Turf Battle or Promising Partnership? Understanding Marketplaces’ Responsibility to Offer Affordable Health Insurance

Implementing the ACA

Local press in D.C. recently reported on a “turf battle” between the health insurance marketplace and DC’s Department of Insurance over the review of proposed rate increases. But their roles are more complementary than conflicting. Sabrina Corlette examines how the Affordable Care Act envisions the marketplaces and state insurance departments working together to help consumers obtain better, more affordable health insurance. Continue reading

New Issue Brief Reviews Employee Choice in Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplaces

Implementing the ACA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aims to improve access to health insurance coverage for small-business employees by creating a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace in every state. One key feature of SHOP Marketplaces is employee choice whereby employees can select among multiple insurers and plans for health insurance coverage that best suits their needs. CHIR’s Sarah Dash and Kevin Lucia review how SHOPs are implementing employee choice in a new Health Policy Brief published by Health Affairs. Continue reading