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

State Regulators Keep a Watchful Eye on Healthcare Companies’ Federal Tax Cut “Windfalls”

In December, President Trump signed the Republican tax reform bill into law, which among other things, eliminates the health insurance mandate penalty and reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. The bill provides for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, mostly benefiting high-income earners and corporations, which Republicans hope will stimulate economic growth. Now, a few months into effect health care companies are taking stock of how the tax law benefits their bottom line and how to best invest the savings for future success. CHIR’s Emily Curran looks into how some state regulators are reacting. Continue reading

States Work to Preserve Affordable Care Act Progress amidst Federal Disorder

It’s been a bumpy year for state insurance and marketplace officials, thanks to considerable uncertainty over the future of the ACA. CHIR’s Emily Curran highlights recent action suggesting that some states may be poised to reassert their authority over their insurance markets, as they work to maintain the ACA’s coverage gains and keep their markets stable. Continue reading