Stakeholders React to HHS’s Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020. Part 1: Insurers

On January 18, the Department of Health and Human Services issued its Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020, which outlines the changes that it plans to apply to the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and insurance rules in the next plan year. The agency received over 26,100 comments on the proposal, including many from insurers, state-based marketplaces, departments of insurance, and consumer advocates. To better understand stakeholder reactions to the proposals, CHIR reviewed a sample of these comments, and, in Part I of this series, we summarize areas of support and concern from major medical insurers and associations. Continue reading

Shopping for a Short-Term Plan? The Information You Get about it Will Depend on Your State

Stakeholders have expressed mixed views on the value of short-term limited duration insurance. However, most seem to agree that, at a minimum, consumers should know what they are purchasing. States have the authority to require insurers to provide disclosures in addition to the federal minimum standard. We looked at short-term disclosures in four states – Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Washington – and found that a wide spectrum exists regarding the amount of detail states require their insurers to disclose. Continue reading

Stakeholders Respond to the Proposed Health Reimbursement Arrangement Rule. Part 2: Insurers

In October, the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services issued a proposed rule that aims to expand the “flexibility and use” of health reimbursement arrangements. To understand reactions to the proposal, CHIR reviewed a sample of comments from state officials, insurers, consumer advocates, and employer, broker and benefit advisor groups. In Part 2 of this blog series, we highlight comments from ten major medical insurers and associations, who argued that stronger non-discrimination provisions are needed to prevent adverse selection and ensure stability in the individual market. Continue reading

Large Employer Strategies to Combat Increasing Healthcare Costs: Trends in Direct Contracting, On-Site Clinics and More

Employers currently insure 155 million people, but many are finding it increasingly challenging to maintain this benefit in the face of rising costs. One of the primary drivers of these costs is high provider prices. Some employers are taking matters into their own hands by disrupting traditional modes of care delivery. CHIR’s Emily Curran takes look at some of the tactics that have been gaining traction among employers. Continue reading

Navigator Guide FAQ of the Week: Can Insurers Ask About Your Health History?

With just one month left in the open enrollment period for most of the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, we’ve updated our Navigator Resource Guide to reflect all of the federal health policy changes that have occurred over the last year and have provided answers to hundreds of frequently asked questions (FAQs). In light of the recent wave of health care-related robocalls from scammers, our FAQ of the Week focuses on: Is an insurer allowed to ask me about my health history? Continue reading

The Trump Administration’s Association Health Plans Emerge: What Early Announcements Tell Us About this New Market

This past summer, the Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a regulation calling for the expansion of association health plans (AHPs) for small businesses and self-employed individuals. There continue to be significant questions about the impact of the rule, including how many associations will form, the role major medical insurers will play in AHP administration and marketing, and the extent to which AHPs can offer cheaper premiums than plans that must meet federal and state consumer protection standards. Now, with the rule for fully insured AHPs effective on September 1, we are starting to see AHPs emerge as groups take advantage of the relaxed requirements. Continue reading

House Farm Bill Supports AHPs with Federal Grants—Following in the Footsteps of the ACA’s CO-OP Program

The Farm Bill currently being debated in a House-Senate conference committee enables the Secretary of Agriculture to create a loan and grant program to assist in the establishment of agricultural association health plans (AHPs). The bill’s injection of federal funding for the purpose of creating new health insurance options is strikingly reminiscent of the ACA’s CO-OP Program. As Congress considers directing federal dollars into AHPs, we look back at the experience of the CO-OP program, which demonstrates just how difficult it is to build a new insurance company. Continue reading

Cities File Suit Against the Administration for Deliberately Failing to Enforce the ACA

On August 2, a coalition of cities filed a federal lawsuit against President Trump and the Department of Health and Human Services, alleging that the administration has “intentionally and unconstitutionally” sabotaged the Affordable Care Act. The complaint alleges that the President has increased the cost of health coverage by discouraging enrollment, stoking uncertainty in the insurance markets, and reducing consumer choice. CHIR’s Emily Curran breaks down their complaint and evidence of alleged harm. Continue reading

A Main Reason New York and Massachusetts Will Sue the Administration Over the Final AHP Rule? Fraud and Abuse

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood (D) and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) announced that they will sue the administration over the final association health plan rule released by the Department of Labor on June 19, arguing that it is unlawful, will result in fewer consumer protections, and “invite[s] fraud, mismanagement and deception.” CHIR’s Emily Curran dives into association health plans and their complicated history. Continue reading

Stakeholders Respond to the Proposed Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance Rule. Part II: Major Medical Insurers

The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury received over 9,000 comments on their proposed rule, which aims to expand the availability of short-term, limited duration insurance. CHIR reviewed comments submitted by health care stakeholders to better understand industry reactions to the proposal. In part two of this four-part series, CHIR’s Emily Curran analyzes comments from nine major medical insurers and associations. Continue reading