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

New York’s Law to Protect People from Surprise Balance Bills is Working as Intended, but Gaps Remain

New York’s 2014 law to protect consumers from surprise out-of-network medical bills has been touted as a model for other states and even potential federal legislation. In their latest report for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHIR experts Sabrina Corlette and Olivia Hoppe share findings from a case study of how New York’s law has affected patients, providers, and insurers, 5 years post-enactment. Continue reading

New Reinsurance Toolkit for State Advocates

Last month, North Dakota enacted legislation to establish a state reinsurance program, and a number states are considering similar bills. To help state consumer advocates engage with state officials on reinsurance and other health insurance reform issues, Community Catalyst, with support from CHIR experts, launched a new website that will house a health insurance reform toolkit for advocates. First up: The Advocate’s Guide to Reinsurance. Continue reading

ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment Numbers Reveal the Impact of State-Level Policy and Operational Choices on Performance

During the last open enrollment period, the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces faced a number of headwinds, including federal policy changes predicted to curb enrollment. Given myriad obstacles to enrollment efforts, it came as no surprise that overall marketplace plan selections dropped slightly this year. But a deeper dive into enrollment trends reveals that most state-based marketplaces outperformed the federally facilitated marketplace. In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab and Sabrina Corlette unpack data from the recent open enrollment period to see how the marketplaces performed during a turbulent time, finding that certain policy and operational decisions were associated with better results. Continue reading

Stakeholders React to HHS’s Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020. Part 3: Consumer Advocates

On April 18, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized changes to the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and insurance rules in the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for the 2020 plan year. To gauge stakeholder reactions, CHIR reviewed a sample of these comments. In the third and final of our blog series, CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe summarizes responses from a selection of consumer advocates. Continue reading

Proposed Rule on Basic Health Program Impedes States’ Progress

Recently, CMS issued a proposed rule modifying the federal funding methodology for the Basic Health Program (BHP) for 2019 and 2020. Under the proposal, technical changes could cause participating states to lose $300 million in federal funding. While funding for the programs is being debated, we checked in on how Minnesota and New York’s BHPs are faring amidst federal uncertainty. Continue reading

Stakeholders React to HHS’s Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020. Part 2: State Insurance Departments and Marketplaces

On April 18, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized changes to the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and insurance rules in the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for the 2020 plan year. The agency received over 26,000 comments on the proposal. To gauge stakeholder reactions, CHIR reviewed a sample of these comments. In the second part of our blog series, Rachel Schwab summarizes responses from a selection of state insurance departments and state-based marketplaces. Continue reading