New Issue Brief Examines Design of SHOP Marketplaces

SHOP marketplaces promise small employers features they say they want but typically have not been able to obtain, such as the ability to give their employees a greater choice of plans and make a predictable contribution towards coverage. In a new issue brief for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR faculty examine the design decisions states have made to add value for small employers in their SHOP marketplaces. Continue reading

“For the first time in forever” women are now on more equal footing when it comes to health insurance

A recent news article chronicled worries that the disproportionate number of women signing up for the new health insurance marketplaces will lead to an unbalanced risk pool and increases in premiums. But as Sarah Dash documents in her latest blog post, the ACA is requiring insurers to shift from denying care to women to providing them with better, more comprehensive coverage. And with insurers now required to offer coverage to everybody, it may be time to harness new, consumer-friendly ways to keep health care costs in check. Continue reading

New Report Evaluates States’ Strategies to Stabilize Health Insurance Premiums and Build Sustainable Exchanges

The Affordable Care Act includes a range of health insurance reforms that will lead to health care costs being shared more evenly between the healthy and the sick. Some experts have pointed to concerns that in the short term, there will be premium “rate shock” for some individuals, while in the long term, exchanges will be vulnerable to adverse selection if they attract a disproportionate number of older, sicker enrollees. Under the ACA, states have considerable flexibility to implement additional strategies to manage their markets and protect consumers. In collaboration with researchers at the Urban Institute, CHIR faculty members Sabrina Corlette and Sarah Dash examine states’ strategies to make premiums more affordable and protect the exchanges from potential adverse selection. Continue reading

Why Should Health Insurance Exchanges Drive Higher-Quality Health Care?

The Affordable Care Act requires the Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) participating in health insurance exchanges to report on quality measures and implement quality improvement strategies. In December, HHS issued a Request for Information Regarding Health Care Quality for Exchanges in preparation for implementing these initiatives. In this blog, Sarah Dash provides a real-life illustration of why these quality improvement efforts are needed. Continue reading

Shining a Light on Health Insurance: Senate Commerce Committee Examines Progress, Challenges

Health insurance is a complicated product that consumers have difficulty understanding, a common theme throughout Wednesday’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing on “The Power of Transparency: Giving Consumers the Information They Need to Make Smart Choices in the Health Insurance Market.” Fortunately, new tools are already available to help consumers shop for and compare coverage, and more will become available as Affordable Care Act implementation continues to roll out. Continue reading

HHS Launches Outreach to Educate Public about Exchange Coverage; Unveils Name and Website for the Federal Exchange

With just under nine months to go until the open enrollment season begins on October 1, 2013, polls show that the general public is still largely unaware of the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Sarah Dash takes a look at the new Health Insurance Marketplace website unveiled by HHS to educate the public about health insurance exchanges. Continue reading

New Report: States Going Above and Beyond to Create Sustainable Exchanges and Deliver Choice and Value to Consumers

In a new report for The Commonwealth Fund, Sarah Dash, Kevin Lucia, Katie Keith, and Christine Monahan provide a comprehensive look at the critical design decisions made by 17 states and the District of Columbia that chose to establish a state-based exchange for 2014. Sarah Dash has highlights from the report and discusses what the findings mean for stakeholders. Continue reading

Ready for Reform?

On the third anniversary of Affordable Care Act implementation, significant reforms have been set in motion, but much remains to be done. Sarah Dash poses a few of the most critical questions that state and federal policymakers continue to grapple with on March 23, 2013. Continue reading