Saying Goodbye to a Hero

Over the weekend we said goodbye to a dear friend. Rob Restuccia lost his 6-month battle against pancreatic cancer, but he never gave up the fight for health equity and justice. We pay tribute to his leadership, commitment and legacy. His life and work inspire us all. Continue reading

Short-Term Health Plans Sold Through Out-of-State Associations Threaten Consumer Protections

The expansion of short-term policies has raised concerns that they may be deceptively marketed, with some sellers leading consumers to believe they are buying a comprehensive policy when they are not. While twenty-four states have sought to regulate short-term plans, their efforts may be undermined by a loophole that allows the policies to be sold through out-of-state associations – a practice we found to be quite common. Continue reading

It’s All About the Rating: Touted “Benefits” of Association Health Plans Ignore Key Facts

A recent Washington Post article touted the emergence of association health plans under recent Trump administration rules, noting their lower cost and generous benefits. But the truth is more complicated, as CHIR experts Kevin Lucia and Sabrina Corlette point out, noting that AHPs often rely on medical underwriting and low “teaser” rates to lure new members. As a result, history is littered with insolvencies and even fraud connected to these arrangements. Continue reading

Complacency Slows Aggressive Approaches to Health Care Cost Containment: A View from Three Markets

Consolidation among hospitals and physician practices is driving a steady rise in health care costs. Employers who purchase insurance and the payers that negotiate on their behalf have a limited set of tools available to counter providers’ demands, but they have also displayed a complacency that has allowed prices to rise with little resistance. In a post for the Health Affairs blog, Sabrina Corlette, Jack Hoadley, and Katie Keith share findings from a series of market-level case studies on responses to provider consolidation. Continue reading

Texas Court Ruling Throws Future of ACA’s Pre-existing Condition Protections, Coverage Gains into Doubt

A district court judge in Texas has issued a ruling that could throw close to one-fifth of the U.S. economy into chaos and upend health care for millions. While the case over the future of the Affordable Care Act wends its way through the courts, CHIR takes a moment to think about what the decision could mean for the consumers and families for whom the law has been a literal lifeline. Continue reading

State Insurance Department Consumer Alerts on Short-Term Plans Come Up Short

Open Enrollment for 2019 has ended in most states, but consumers are sure to be bombarded with sales pitches for alternative insurance products well beyond the December 15th deadline. Short-term plans are often marketed as lower-priced substitutes for ACA-compliant coverage, even though they cover far less. Since the Trump administration lowered federal guardrails on short-term plans, it has become particularly important for state insurance departments to highlight the limitations of these products. CHIR looked at insurance department websites to see what information was available for consumers regarding short-term plans. Continue reading

In the Wake of New Association Health Plan Standards, States are Exercising Authority to Protect Consumers, Providers, and Markets

States have begun to respond to the Trump administration’s new rules for association health plans with a wide range of regulatory strategies. In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR researchers analyzed how states are using their authority to set association health plan standards and protect consumers, providers, and their markets. Continue reading