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

The Future of the Affordable Care Act under President Trump: Stakeholders Respond to the Proposed Association Health Plan Rule. Part V: Departments of Insurance

In this final blog in our series reviewing stakeholder comments on the Department of Labor’s proposed rule to expand Association Health Plans, CHIR’s Emily Curran summarizes responses from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and nine state departments of insurance (DOI). While the DOIs expressed some areas of support for the proposed rule, their comments were largely negative, with most expressing deep concerns about the rule’s ambiguity. Continue reading

States’ Latest ACA Lawsuit Threatens to Reignite “Repeal-Without-Replace” – With Real Consequences for Stakeholders

Earlier today, California, along with 15 state attorneys general filed a motion to intervene in the latest ACA lawsuit, where governors and attorneys general from 20 other states are alleging that the law is unconstitutional. CHIR’s Emily Curran explains how the lawsuit, if successful, is tantamount to ACA “repeal-without-replacement,” resulting in significant losses in coverage and financial harm. Continue reading