Ensuring Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine for Enrollees in Private Health Insurance: A Roadmap for States

States and the federal government are preparing for the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine. But just as important as distributing and administering the vaccine is figuring out how to pay for it. In her latest “expert perspective” for the State Health & Value Strategies program, Sabrina Corlette discusses recent federal efforts to ensure that private health plans cover the full costs of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as options for states to close potential gaps in coverage. Continue reading

Navigator Guide FAQs of the Week: I Need Health Insurance. Where Should I buy it?

Open enrollment for the Obamacare marketplaces begins on November 1. While CHIR has been working hard the last several weeks to re-launch its Navigator Resource Guide with updated frequently asked questions and other exciting new features, many are just beginning to think about their health plan options for 2021. For those folks we have some helpful FAQs about the importance of coverage and the process for applying. Continue reading

Trump Administration Promotes Coverage That Fails to Adequately Cover Women’s Key Health Care Needs

The ACA expanded women’s access to comprehensive coverage. The Trump administration is seeking to overturn the law while promoting coverage options that are exempt from the ACA’s consumer protections, including short-term plans and health care sharing ministries. In a new post for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts examine the differences between ACA plans and the alternatives promoted by the Trump administration, finding that these products frequently exclude or severely limit coverage of services that are critical to women’s health. Continue reading

Updating the Essential Health Benefit Benchmark Plan: An Unexpected Path to Fill Coverage Gaps?

Many feared that Trump administration rules issued in 2018 would result in less-generous benefits in Affordable Care Act health plans. However, five states have now enhanced their essential health benefit benchmark plans under these rules. In a post for the State Health & Value Strategies program, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette and Manatt Health’s Joel Ario examine how these states were able to do so. Continue reading

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing for Essential Workers: Considerations and Challenges for State Policymakers

States are being forced to decide how to target, administer, and finance asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for essential workers in the midst of a global pandemic and their own budget crises. In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, Kevin Lucia, Sara Rosenbaum, Sabrina Corlette and Madeline O’Brien identify challenges and considerations for state policymakers. Continue reading

Partial Vindication for Insurers in Cost-sharing Reduction Litigation: Implications for State Insurance Regulation

Health insurers won a partial victory against the government in federal court last week, when the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that the Trump administration breached a contract with insurers to reimburse them for cost-sharing reduction plans offered under the Affordable Care Act. In her latest “Expert Perspective” for the State Health & Value Strategies program, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette breaks down the decision and its implications for state insurance regulation. Continue reading

As Insurers Sit on Extra Cash, Are Premium Relief and MLR Rebates the Best Use of Funds?

While the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted financial catastrophe across the country, the private health insurance industry appears to be thriving. CHIR researchers Megan Houston and Sabrina Corlette consider whether the traditional use of these extra funds is the best way to spend them and discuss opportunities that states may have to redirect money towards COVID-19 testing. Continue reading

Getting It Done: Consensus On Surprise Billing Protections

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk that patients will experience surprise bills for out-of-network health care services. In their latest post for the Health Affairs blog, CHIR’s Jack Hoadley, Kevin Lucia, and Katie Keith discuss the latest Congressional and administrative efforts to protect people from surprise balance billing and chart a path for a potential federal solution. Continue reading

New Report Provides State Policy Recommendations on How to Protect Consumers, Reduce Disparities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented threats to health and safety, and exacerbates existing inequities that continue to jeopardize the wellbeing of millions of Americans. To help state policymakers during a time of great upheaval and uncertainty, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Consumer Representatives put together recommendations on access to coverage and care, health equity and racial justice, and other state policy issues. Continue reading