The District of Columbia’s Coverage Requirement Is Caught in Congressional Crosshairs, and Consumers Could Pay the Price

When Congress repealed the individual mandate’s financial penalty, some states acted quickly to protect their markets from deterioration. A handful of state legislatures and the Council of the District of Columbia considered or enacted legislation creating a state-based coverage requirement. While many states faced political hurdles and unforgiving timelines in enacting their own mandates, D.C. now has an additional obstacle: the U.S. Congress. Continue reading

Coverage That (Doesn’t) Count: How the Short-Term, Limited Duration Rule Could Lead to Underinsurance

Any day now, the Trump administration is expected to publish new rules that will expand access to short-term, limited duration insurance (STLDI). These plans are allowed to discriminate against sick people, exclude coverage of essential health services, and impose lifetime and annual benefit limits. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that the majority of plans expanded under this rule will be considered health insurance. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a closer look at how CBO defines health insurance, and explains how the expansion of STLDI could lead to widespread underinsurance. Continue reading

Stakeholder Views on the Proposed Short-Term Plan Insurance Rule: Key Takeaways from Our Review of Comment Letters

In February, the Trump administration published a proposed rule to expand the availability of short-term, limited duration insurance by relaxing federal restrictions put in place by the Obama administration. Federal agencies received over 9,000 comments in response. In a four-part blog series, CHIR dug into comments to evaluate the proposed rule’s potential impact on consumers, major medical insurers, states, and sellers of short-term plans. Here’s what we found. Continue reading

Stakeholders Respond to the Proposed Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance Rule. Part I: Consumer Advocates

Earlier this year, the Trump administration proposed rules to relax federal restrictions on short-term, limited duration insurance. After a 60-day comment period, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor (DOL) and Treasury received over 9,000 comments from individuals, organizations, and government officials. To understand the potential impact of the proposals, CHIR reviewed comments from various stakeholder groups. For the first blog in our four-part series, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab examines comments submitted by consumer and patient organizations. Continue reading

States Leaning In: Washington

Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, states have embraced the law to varying degrees. While some states have refused to implement the ACA and actively oppose it, other states have leaned in, stepping up to preserve the consumer protections and market rules in the wake of federal actions to weaken the law. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab examines steps that Washington State has taken to ensure that their residents can continue to obtain affordable, high quality coverage, and how other states can do the same. Continue reading

The Future of the Affordable Care Act under President Trump: Stakeholders Respond to the Proposed Association Health Plan Rule. Part I: State Attorneys General

The Trump administration has proposed major changes to the regulation of Association Health Plans (AHPs). To understand the potential impact of these proposals on consumers, employers, insurers, and states, CHIR reviewed comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor by various stakeholder groups. For the first blog in our series, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab examines comments submitted by eighteen state attorneys general, officials who, thanks to their consumer protection responsibilities, have unique insights into the potential risks and benefits of AHPs. Continue reading

Stepping in When States Don’t Step Up: First “State-Based” Plans Filed in Idaho, Violating the Affordable Care Act

Last week Blue Cross of Idaho filed the first “state-based” health plans, products that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for coverage offered on the individual market. When a state can’t or won’t enforce federal law, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is supposed to step in. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab outlines HHS’ authority to protect the rule of law and ensure that Idaho consumers continue to receive the benefits they are promised under the ACA. Continue reading

New Funding Opportunity Allows States to Bolster Consumer Protections

On February 5th, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) put out a Notice of Funding Opportunity. The federal agency anticipates that $8.1 million is available for state initiatives focused on insurers’ compliance with federal market reforms and consumer protections, giving states the opportunity to improve their oversight efforts. With the February 26th deadline for letters of intent just around the corner, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab provides an overview of the new grant program. Continue reading

The Future of the Affordable Care Act under President Trump: Stakeholders Respond to Proposed 2019 Marketplace Rule. Part II: Consumer Advocates

The final 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters has been submitted to the White House for review. The initial proposal included a number of changes to the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits, marketplace operations, and other consumer protections. In this second post in a series of blogs analyzing public comments on the proposed rules, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab examines responses from a range of consumer advocacy groups to better understand who the rule could impact. Continue reading

A Snake in the Grass? Choosing Between COBRA and Other Coverage Options After Leaving Employer Coverage

Leaving a job comes with many challenges, not the least of which is securing new health insurance. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) offers employees continued coverage on their job-based plan, but losing the employer subsidies could cause some to turn to the individual market to find lower premiums. With a Senate bill under consideration that reduces federal subsidies and strips away vital consumer protections, anyone leaving employer coverage will have to make a decision today about joining an insurance market that could look vastly different six months from now. On her last day at Georgetown, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab reflects on options for coverage after leaving a job-based plan. Continue reading