Navigator Guide FAQ of the Week: Can I Get Help Paying for Coverage and Care?

Open Enrollment is in full swing in all 50 states and Washington, DC. As consumers consider their coverage options, many will qualify for subsidies to help pay for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses if they enroll in a plan through the marketplace. Throughout the enrollment period, CHIR is highlighting frequently asked questions from our recently updated Navigator Resource Guide. In this installation, we answer questions about financial assistance available to individuals and families. Continue reading

As Maryland Charts a New Course for Lowering Barriers to Coverage, Feds Could Raise Them

Maryland is implementing a program that offers a new, easy way to enroll in comprehensive and affordable health insurance. At the same time, the federal government is considering ending auto renewal in the marketplaces, which facilitates millions of enrollments each year. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a look at Maryland’s new program, and how state and federal enrollment policy can impact consumers’ access to coverage. Continue reading

States Leaning In: Colorado

This year several states have taken an increasingly active role in expanding health insurance coverage, overseeing their insurance markets, and protecting consumers. Perhaps no state did more in 2019 than Colorado, which enacted a dizzying array of health insurance bills. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a look in this installment of States Leaning In. Continue reading

States Leaning In: Washington Doubles Down on Efforts to Shore up Market, Protect Consumers

In the wake of federal actions to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s reforms, states have assumed an even greater role in protecting consumers and ensuring market stability. Washington State, a long-time leader in state health insurance reform, has taken up that mantle. Since our last post highlighting Washington’s policy playbook, the state has implemented several more policies to preserve their insurance market and bolster consumer protections. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a look at some of the state’s new developments. Continue reading

Coming up Short: The Problem with Counting Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance as Coverage

In April, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis of federal legislation to reverse the Trump administration’s rule expanding access to short-term, limited duration insurance policies, which do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. CBO estimated that reversing the rule would result in 500,000 people going uninsured, predicated on the assumption that most short-term plans count as “insurance.” For people with preexisting conditions, nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading

Stakeholders React to HHS’s Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020. Part 2: State Insurance Departments and Marketplaces

On April 18, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized changes to the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and insurance rules in the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for the 2020 plan year. The agency received over 26,000 comments on the proposal. To gauge stakeholder reactions, CHIR reviewed a sample of these comments. In the second part of our blog series, Rachel Schwab summarizes responses from a selection of state insurance departments and state-based marketplaces. Continue reading

Trump Administration Pushes for Sale of Insurance Across State Lines

Recently, the Trump administration issued a request for information (RFI) seeking recommendations on ways to facilitate the sale of insurance across state lines, allowing insurers to bypass the insurance standards of states that have strong consumer protections and benefit requirements by headquartering in a state with few regulations in place. The policy is often touted as a way to reduce the cost of coverage and improve consumer choice, but states and insurers have been reluctant to embrace it. A CHIR study conducted after the ACA was signed into law sheds light on why. Continue reading

House Hearings Shed Light on a Key Policy Priority: Protecting People with Pre-Existing Conditions

After becoming a rallying cry in the midterm elections, pre-existing condition protections have taken center stage on Capitol Hill: in January and February, the House of Representatives held three hearings about protecting people with pre-existing conditions, before the Ways & Means Committee, the Education & Labor Committee, and the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee. As the ACA faces legal challenges in federal court, these proceedings set the scene for how this policy debate will play out in Congress and offer insight into potential legislative action. Continue reading

Stakeholders Respond to the Proposed Health Reimbursement Arrangement Rule. Part I: State Insurance Departments and Marketplaces

In October 2018, the Trump administration proposed rules to expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) by loosening current federal limitations. The administration’s proposal would allow employers to offer employees the tax-advantaged accounts to assist with health care expenses, including premiums, in lieu of employer-sponsored coverage. To understand the potential impact of the proposals, CHIR reviewed comments from various stakeholder groups. For the first blog in our series, Rachel Schwab summarizes comments from state marketplaces and state insurance departments. Continue reading