Though the ACA Faces Tough Critics, Millions are Having an Easier Time Paying Medical Bills

Implementing the ACA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has extended insurance coverage to 22 million people, but the law’s critics often point to the high out-of-pocket costs in some of the ACA’s marketplace health plans. And while many people do face high deductibles and cost-sharing for health care services, a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that dramatically fewer people are struggling to pay medical bills, compared to what they faced before the ACA. Continue reading

The Affordable Care Act prohibits discriminatory benefit design, but how is that enforced?

Implementing the ACA

The Affordable Care Act put in place new protections to prevent health plan benefit designs that discriminate against people based on their health needs. But implementing and enforcing those protections have been easier said than done. CHIR experts Sabrina Corlette and Kevin Lucia take a look at regulatory lessons learned and challenges ahead. Continue reading

In the Midst of Federal ACA Woes, States Play an Important Consumer Protection Role

Implementing the ACA

In Washington, our health policy minds are on system overload. Since the election last week, the town is buzzing about the President-elect and new Congress’ promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as one of their first legislative actions. At the same time, they have also pledged allegiance to some of the law’s market reforms. Since most of those reforms are enforced at the state level, a continued state role will be critical to preserving these vital consumer protections. Continue reading

Definition of Insanity? Trump Transition Team Proposals for “Replacing” the Affordable Care Act

Implementing the ACA

President-elect Trump’s transition team has posted their top replacement ideas for the Affordable Care Act. But those ideas – allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, reinstating high risk pools, and expanding HSAs – are all tired retreads of old policies that have been proven failures. Sabrina Corlette takes a look. Continue reading

Soldiering On

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This past week’s stunning election results have put the future of the Affordable Care Act – and health coverage for millions of people – in jeopardy. What the new President and Congress will replace the law with is anyone’s guess. Sabrina Corlette, Kevin Lucia and JoAnn Volk discuss how we at CHIR will continue our mission of improving access to affordable and adequate insurance through reasoned, evidence-based research and analysis. Continue reading

How Could a New Administration Tackle Affordable Care Act Challenges? Look to Medicare

Implementing the ACA

The next President and Congress will likely need to consider policy options to help stabilize the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplaces. But the challenges in those markets are not unique – Medicare Advantage markets have faced similar turmoil. In this blog post for Health Affairs, Sabrina Corlette and Jack Hoadley review the Bush administration’s policy responses to market instability in Medicare – and the lessons those policies hold for the ACA. Continue reading

Simple Choice Plans Debut on Healthcare.Gov

Implementing the ACA

Simple Choice plans, standardized benefit designs with fixed cost-sharing amounts and pre-deductible services, are new this year on Healthcare.gov. These types of plans can help consumers make “apples-to-apples” comparisons, but the the availability of such plans depends on insurer participation and local markets. Emily Curran and others here at CHIR take a look at the availability of Simple Choice plans on Healthcare.gov and find it’s a mixed bag. Continue reading

Health Plan Restrictions on Contraceptive Coverage: It’s like asking people to “renew their seat belt each month”

Implementing the ACA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has lowered financial barriers to birth control by requiring health plans to cover contraceptives at no cost sharing, but restrictions limit the availability and affordability of certain methods. While we’ve come a long way in ensuring access to this essential service, one hundred years after Margaret Sanger opened the first Planned Parenthood clinic in Brooklyn, nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Addressing the unmet need for contraceptives and enabling women to maintain consistent and accurate drug use is a public health issue that affects insurers, consumers, and providers. Continue reading

New Marketplace Research: Off-Marketplace Consumers and How Marketplace Enrollees Fare in Expansion and Nonexpansion States

Implementing the ACA

Two new studies captured our attention recently. One, from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services examines enrollment in coverage inside and outside the health insurance marketplaces. The other, from Urban Institute researchers, examines different enrollment experiences between Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states. The Center for Children & Families’ Karina Wagnerman takes a closer look. Continue reading