What’s New for 2019 Marketplace Enrollment? Get Ready for Updated, Improved Navigator Resource Guide

On November 1, the sixth open enrollment period begins for marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act. We at CHIR will soon re-launch our updated Navigator Resource Guide, which provides information on recent policy changes, a list of enrollment tools for consumers and assisters, and answers to hundreds of frequently asked questions. To learn what’s new for 2019, read our CHIRBlog summarizing the major policy changes consumers might encounter this year. Continue reading

The Trump Administration’s Association Health Plans Emerge: What Early Announcements Tell Us About this New Market

This past summer, the Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a regulation calling for the expansion of association health plans (AHPs) for small businesses and self-employed individuals. There continue to be significant questions about the impact of the rule, including how many associations will form, the role major medical insurers will play in AHP administration and marketing, and the extent to which AHPs can offer cheaper premiums than plans that must meet federal and state consumer protection standards. Now, with the rule for fully insured AHPs effective on September 1, we are starting to see AHPs emerge as groups take advantage of the relaxed requirements. Continue reading

Proposed “Public Charge” Rule Risks Immigrants’ Access to Private Coverage, Too

A federal proposal would make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain a green card if they’ve received certain public benefits like Medicaid. Although the policy doesn’t include the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credits in its list of public benefits, there are several ways the proposed rule could place immigrants’ access to private coverage at risk. Sabrina Corlette takes a look. Continue reading

September Research Round Up: What We’re Reading

This September, CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe focuses in on health care spending and costs with new studies on how consolidation impacts individual market premiums, spending under employer-sponsored health insurance, the effects of removing financial incentives for quality, and pharmaceutical reference pricing. With health care costs at the forefront of consumers’ minds, these new studies shed light on what contributes to America’s exorbitant health spending. Continue reading

New Report Shows Role of Medicaid Expansion in Rural Area, Small Town Health Coverage

Under the Affordable Care Act, 33 states and the District of Columbia expanded Medicaid, greatly increasing coverage under the public program. In a new report, our sister center,
the Center for Children and Families, examines the impact of Medicaid expansion on health coverage in rural areas and small towns, communities that for many years have faced high premiums and limited choices on the private insurance market. Continue reading

House Farm Bill Supports AHPs with Federal Grants—Following in the Footsteps of the ACA’s CO-OP Program

The Farm Bill currently being debated in a House-Senate conference committee enables the Secretary of Agriculture to create a loan and grant program to assist in the establishment of agricultural association health plans (AHPs). The bill’s injection of federal funding for the purpose of creating new health insurance options is strikingly reminiscent of the ACA’s CO-OP Program. As Congress considers directing federal dollars into AHPs, we look back at the experience of the CO-OP program, which demonstrates just how difficult it is to build a new insurance company. Continue reading

Federal Flexibility Grants Highlight State Priorities for Market Stability

Last month, the Department of Health & Human Services awarded $8.6 million in grants to 30 states and the District of Columbia to provide additional support to implement certain ACA market reforms, including guaranteed issue, guaranteed renewal, and the Essential Health Benefits. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab took a look at how states plan to use the federal funding, and what tops the list of state market stabilization and consumer protection priorities. Continue reading

Massive Navigator Funding Cuts Pose Risks for Consumers, Marketplaces

On September 12, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services released the in-person assistance awards for the 2018-2019 enrollment season. The Administration allotted $10 million to the federally facilitated marketplaces, a more than 80 percent drop in funding over two years. CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe explains the risks the funding cuts pose on consumers and the ACA marketplaces. Continue reading

When Policy and Politics Conflict: Challenges to State-level Market Stabilization Efforts

Within the last month, Delaware has adopted two policies with diametrically different effects on their small business insurance market. One would help make the market stronger and more stable, the other would do the opposite. CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette delves into some of the challenges facing states seeking to stabilize their health insurance markets during a time of considerable policy upheaval. Continue reading