New Rules Pending on Short-Term Health Plans: Impacts for Consumers, Markets and Potential State Responses

New rules are due any day now in response to President Trump’s October 13, 2017 executive order to expand access to short-term limited-duration health plans that don’t have to comply with Affordable Care Act protections. The impact of the proposed new rules were debated at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ December meeting, as well as potential state policy options to protect consumers and stabilize their markets. CHIR recently outlined some in an issue brief, and we share some highlights here. Continue reading

State Options Blog Series: Implications of Weakening the 80-20 Rule for States and Consumers

The Trump administration recently issued a proposed regulation that could significantly impact how much of consumers’ premium dollars are spent on their health care needs. CHIR expert Kevin Lucia assesses the proposed relaxation of the Affordable Care Act’s “80-20” or medical loss ratio standards and outlines policy options for states wishing to maintain them. Continue reading

Shopping Tips for 2018 Open Enrollment

What’s a marketplace consumer to think in this crazy-mixed up year for the Affordable Care Act? Federal policy uncertainty has led to some downright weird and counterintuitive premiums for marketplace plans. And smart shoppers can find some incredible deals. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn shares her shopping tips for this year’s open enrollment season. Continue reading

Insurers, State Regulators Avoid Bare Counties in 2018, but Seek Long-Term Solutions

As we near the end of the second week of a so-far successful Open Enrollment, uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act remains a challenge. As insurers and state regulators prepared for the 2018 plan year, they addressed questions of whether Congress or the Trump Administration would make major changes to the law. This led to a situation in several states where some or all counties seemed likely to have no insurance plan available for residents seeking marketplace coverage. In a new issue brief for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHIR experts examine the actions of six states that faced the prospect of bare counties for 2018. Continue reading

State Options Blog Series: Streamlined, Direct Marketplace Enrollment Has Risks, Benefits, but Much Depends on State Oversight

In the fourth of a multi-part blog series on state options in the wake of federal actions to roll back or relax Affordable Care Act regulation, JoAnn Volk reviews recent changes to an enrollment pathway that may prove helpful in boosting enrollment, but also comes with potential risks for consumers. She discusses what state insurance regulators can do to ensure consumers are protected from pitfalls. Continue reading

State-Based Marketplaces Push Ahead, Despite Federal Resistance

Open enrollment for 2018 started last week on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces. Along with its executive actions designed to weaken marketplaces operations, the Trump administration has taken a number of steps over the past year to curb marketplace enrollment. While the administration has scaled back efforts to provide health coverage, state-based marketplaces have taken a different approach. In their latest post for The Commonwealth Fund’s To The Point blog, CHIR’s Emily Curran and Justin Giovannelli share their findings from interviews with executives at 15 of the 17 states that operate their own marketplaces. Continue reading

Proposed 2019 Affordable Care Act Payment Rule: A Big Role for States

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services published an annual set of proposed rules for the Affordable Care Act marketplaces on October 27. Called the “Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters,” the rules set out expectations for insurers and the states that regulate them. In her latest post for CHIR, Katie Keith highlights key areas in which this administration would give states new autonomy and authority. Continue reading