Future of Health Reform: A prescription for individual market stability

As policy uncertainty in Washington, DC roils health insurance markets nationwide, states like Minnesota are stepping up to preserve consumer coverage choices and keep premiums affordable. In a conference at the University of Minnesota School of Public Affairs sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette joined in a wide-ranging discussion with state leaders over the future of the ACA. BCBSM’s Laura Kaslow shares some takeaways from the event. Continue reading

Lots of Questions but Few Answers: NAIC’s 2017 Summer Meeting

State insurance regulators met for the NAIC’s annual summer meeting in Philadelphia last week amidst continued uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act. CHIR’s JoAnn Volk was there to observe the action and report out on how states are working to protect consumers and keep their insurance markets stable in spite of many unanswered questions from federal officials. Continue reading

Short-Term Health Plans: Still Bad for Consumers and the Individual Market

Some state and federal policymakers are urging HHS to relax Obama-era rules for short-term limited duration health plans, arguing they provide a cheaper alternative to ACA-compliant coverage. But a close examination of these plans reveals significant risks for consumers and the ACA marketplaces as a whole. In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR experts Dania Palanker, Kevin Lucia, and Emily Curran share the results of a deep dive into what’s covered – and what’s not – in short-term plans. Continue reading

Relaxing the ACA’s Regulations: Stakeholders Respond to HHS’ Request for Information: Part 1—Insurers

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services asked this spring for public comments on potential changes to the Affordable Care Act. They received over 3,270 comments from a wide range of stakeholders. To better understand concerns related to the law, CHIR experts pulled a sample of comments from health insurers, state regulators, and consumer advocates. In Part 1 of this three-part series, Emily Curran reviews the recommendations of large and small insurers. Continue reading

Affordable Care Act Reforms Not Fully Realized for Small Businesses: New Study Documents a Market in Transition

A new report published by the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation uncovers trends in the market for small business health insurance that could have long-term implications for small employers who offer health coverage to recruit and retain employees and promote a healthy workforce. The authors, Georgetown CHIR experts Sabrina Corlette, Jack Hoadley, Dania Palanker and Kevin Lucia summarize some of their findings here. Continue reading

No Rest for the Weary: Unexpected Defeat of ACA Repeal Effort Doesn’t Mean End of Threats to Law

In the wake of the surprise defeat of the effort to repeal the ACA, President Trump called for letting the law “implode.” In fact, the executive branch has considerable power to undermine and roll back key elements of the ACA, without congressional involvement. CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette reviews potential administrative actions that could de-stabilize the marketplaces, and reduce the dramatic coverage gains experienced under the law. Continue reading

Important Gains under the ACA for Cancer Patients And Their Families

While there may be a respite from the push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, authored by CHIR’s JoAnn Volk and Sandy Ahn, exposes what’s at stake in the debate for cancer patients and their families. The report finds that the ACA improved access to coverage and provides significant financial protections. The report is based on more than a dozen interviews with hospital-based Financial Navigators, who work closely with cancer patients throughout their treatment and provide critical insight into the coverage experience of cancer patients. Continue reading

“Small Business Health Plans”: Undermining States’ Authority and a Recipe for Fewer Plan Choices and Higher Premiums

The U.S. Senate stands poised to debate a bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, that would not only repeal major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, but would also fundamentally alter the state-federal framework for insurance regulation. A key provision would create federally certified small business health plans that are exempt from most state laws. In their latest article for The Commonwealth Fund, Kevin Lucia and Sabrina Corlette examine the impact of this provision on small businesses and states’ historic authority to protect consumers and manage their insurance markets. Continue reading