As Self-Funding Increases in Popularity, Two States Step up to Address Potential Stop-Loss Policy Concerns

In the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance market reforms, policy experts have raised concerns that there could be greater incentives for small businesses to self-fund their health plans. Self-funding can be attractive for some small groups, but also can pose significant risks. In the wake of a white paper from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, two states have stepped up to address concerns. Ashley Williams has the latest. Continue reading

Georgetown Experts Help States Weigh Solutions to Protect Consumers from Unexpected Medical Bills

As reports of patient encounters with unexpected provider bills continue to make headlines, state and federal policymakers are working to find solutions to the problem of surprise out-of-network billing. A recent Georgetown report on the issue caught the eye of two states – Pennsylvania and Florida – that are attempting to set new standards to protect consumers from balance bills. CHIR’s Ashley Williams shares a summary of what these states heard from our report’s lead authors. Continue reading

Some Insurers Cancel Noncompliant Health Plans, But Consumers Are More Informed of Coverage Options

The media furor over health plan cancellations in the wake of the Affordable Care Act has died down, in part because federal and state rules now allow insurers to maintain their noncompliant policies until 2017. However, some insurers are choosing to discontinue them. In their latest blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, Kevin Lucia, Sabrina Corlette, and Ashley Williams examine the policy and business incentives driving health plan cancellations. Continue reading

New Report Reviews State Action on Quality Improvement in State-Based Marketplaces

The Affordable Care Act envisions that the new health insurance marketplaces will encourage plans to provide better quality, more cost-effective care. But achieving that is easier said than done. A recent report by CHIR faculty Sarah Dash and Sabrina Corlette charts action by the state-based marketplaces to achieve quality improvements and assesses future prospects. Ashley Williams provides an overview. Continue reading

New Report Finds that, Under the ACA, Consumers Nationwide Are Experiencing Improved Protections in the Individual Insurance Market

The ACA includes numerous consumer protections designed to remedy shortcomings in the availability, affordability, adequacy, and transparency of individual market insurance. However, because states continue to be the primary regulators of health insurance and implementers of these requirements, consumers are likely to experience some of these new protections differently, depending on where they live. CHIR’s latest issue brief finds that consumers nationwide will enjoy improved protections in each area targeted by the reforms. Continue reading

SHOP Marketplaces for Small Businesses: State Design Decisions and Implications for Employers

The Commonwealth Fund recently hosted a one-hour webinar on the small business health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. The webinar, led by CHIR’s Kevin Lucia and Sarah Dash and joined by state and federal officials, examined key state marketplace design decisions, small business perspectives, and the future of the program. Ashley Williams provides this overview. Continue reading