Responding to the Opioid Crisis: Insurers Balance Stepped up Monitoring, Restrictions with Need for Appropriate Pain Treatment

The United States has an opioid epidemic, with an unprecedented number of opioid-related deaths in recent years. The rise in opioid addiction and overdose is further complicated by the need to effectively treat the approximately 100 million people living with chronic pain. In their latest issue brief for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHIR experts report on how insurers are responding to the opioid crisis while also meeting the needs of members living with chronic pain. Continue reading

2017 Federal and State Marketplace Trends Show Value of Outreach

The fourth open enrollment period ended in early 2017, with dwindling momentum behind enrollment efforts at the federal level following the presidential election. In a new publication for the Commonwealth Fund, Emily Curran, Sabrina Corlette, Kevin Lucia and Justin Giovannelli provide an overview of potential factors influencing enrollment changes in the state-based marketplaces, including increased efforts that may have had a positive effect on final selections. Continue reading

Alexander-Corker Bill Would Likely Reduce, Not Expand, Consumers’ Health Insurance Options

Humana’s decision to pull out of the individual market in 2018 has prompted more concern over areas facing a dearth of marketplace plans next year, or “bare” counties. Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker recently introduced a bill that would waive the individual mandate for residents of bare counties, and allow them to receive federal premium tax credits to purchase plans outside of the marketplace. Sarah Lueck of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shares a new analysis of the bill and its potential impact on insurers and consumers. Continue reading

What’s Going on in Tennessee? One Possible Reason for Its Affordable Care Act Challenges

Recently the Governor of Tennessee observed that his state was “ground zero” for insurers pulling out of the ACA marketplaces. In the wake of Humana’s decision to withdraw from the marketplaces for 2018, the residents of 16 counties in that state face the prospect of no insurance company at all from which to buy a subsidized health plan. Tennessee is not alone in having a fragile ACA marketplace, but its situation is particularly acute, especially if no other insurer can be persuaded to operate in those counties. Why is Tennessee’s market struggling, when other states with similar demographics, such as Arkansas, have more competition and market stability? Continue reading

Selling Health Insurance Across State Lines Doesn’t Lower Costs for Consumers

In the wake of the failure of the legislative effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the fate of the President’s proposal to authorize the sale of insurance “across state lines” is unclear. In their latest article for the Commonwealth Fund’s To The Point blog, Sabrina Corlette and Kevin Lucia examine different potential approaches to promoting cross-state sale of insurance and what they mean for states and consumers. Continue reading

Loss of Cost-Sharing Reductions in the ACA Marketplace: Impact on Consumers and Insurer Participation

In an updated article published on The Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point site, CHIR experts JoAnn Volk, Dania Palanker, Justin Giovannelli and Kevin Lucia examine the possibility that the Trump administration will pull the plug on the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies, and discuss the potential consequences for individual health insurance markets and the consumers who rely on it. Continue reading

House Proposal to Promote Association Health Plans Poses Risks for Insurance Markets, Consumers

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to promote federally certified association health plans (AHPs) on March 22, 2017. Widely seen as a “second phase” of Affordable Care Act repeal, the AHP proposal poses significant risks for small employers and would hinder states’ ability to protect their consumers. In their latest post for The Commonwealth Fund, Kevin Lucia and Sabrina Corlette take a look at the bill and what it would mean for the small business health insurance market. Continue reading