The Experiences of State-Run Insurance Marketplaces That Use HealthCare.gov

Whether their exchange is state-based or federally facilitated, many state policymakers are seeking ways to realize the advantages of a state-run marketplace model while minimizing, so far as possible, the financial and operational burdens of building or maintaining one. In a new issue brief for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR researchers explore the experiences of four states that established their own exchanges but have operated them with support from the federal HealthCare.gov eligibility and enrollment platform. Continue reading

Insurance Premium Surcharges for Smokers May Jeopardize Access to Coverage

While the ACA limits the power of insurance companies to charge higher prices to consumers based on health status and other factors, the law doesn’t stop insurers from imposing a premium surcharge on tobacco users that can raise the cost of coverage by as much as 50 percent. In a new blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR researchers discuss the pros and cons of tobacco rating and examine why some states have chosen to ban the practice. Continue reading

Implementing the Affordable Care Act: Revisiting the ACA’s Essential Health Benefits Requirements

Within the next several months, federal officials must decide whether to maintain or modify their “transitional” approach to implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits (EHB) requirements. In a new issue brief for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR researchers examine how states have exercised their flexibility under the current EHB rules. Continue reading

New “Halbig Provision” in Health Plan Agreements Poses Little Threat to Consumers

Insurers that sell coverage through the ACA’s federally facilitated marketplaces must sign a privacy and security agreement with the federal government. New language gives insurers greater flexibility to end that agreement if premium tax credits cease to be available to marketplace enrollees. Justin Giovannelli explores the significance of this development for consumers. Continue reading

State Restrictions on Health Reform Assisters May Violate Federal Law

Regulations issued last month by the Department of Health and Human Services show that laws in more than a dozen states may be invalid because they go too far in restricting the work of consumer assistance personnel certified under the Affordable Care Act. In a blog post published by The Commonwealth Fund, Justin Giovannelli, Kevin Lucia, and Sabrina Corlette discuss these new rules and how they affect state efforts to regulate consumer assisters. Continue reading

The Affordable Care Act’s Disclosure Rules: Can They Improve Coverage, Raise Care Quality, and Cut Costs?

The Affordable Care Act is designed to expand access to affordable and adequate health insurance, improve the quality and efficiency of care, and constrain rising health costs. While the closely watched insurance marketplaces are key to these efforts, among the most promising provisions is the law’s new transparency framework. In this latest in a series of blogs for the Commonwealth Fund, Justin Giovannelli, Kevin Lucia and Sarah Dash take a look at one important but overlooked tool. Continue reading