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

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

New Study: Consumers Don’t Understand That Short-term Plans Lack Protections, Benefits

A study commissioned by consumer representatives to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) finds that consumers face significant challenges understanding the limitations of short-term health plans. These plans, championed by the Trump administration as a cheap alternative to ACA coverage, can leave consumers facing significant out-of-pocket costs if they have an unexpected medical event. Continue reading

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