As Insurers Sit on Extra Cash, Are Premium Relief and MLR Rebates the Best Use of Funds?

While the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted financial catastrophe across the country, the private health insurance industry appears to be thriving. CHIR researchers Megan Houston and Sabrina Corlette consider whether the traditional use of these extra funds is the best way to spend them and discuss opportunities that states may have to redirect money towards COVID-19 testing. Continue reading

Getting It Done: Consensus On Surprise Billing Protections

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk that patients will experience surprise bills for out-of-network health care services. In their latest post for the Health Affairs blog, CHIR’s Jack Hoadley, Kevin Lucia, and Katie Keith discuss the latest Congressional and administrative efforts to protect people from surprise balance billing and chart a path for a potential federal solution. Continue reading

New Report Provides State Policy Recommendations on How to Protect Consumers, Reduce Disparities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented threats to health and safety, and exacerbates existing inequities that continue to jeopardize the wellbeing of millions of Americans. To help state policymakers during a time of great upheaval and uncertainty, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Consumer Representatives put together recommendations on access to coverage and care, health equity and racial justice, and other state policy issues. Continue reading

Imposing The Costs Of Workplace Coronavirus Testing On Group Plan Coverage Would Place An Excessive Burden On Essential Workers

To re-open safely, many employers will need to rely on regular testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. But doing so is expensive, and some have called for it to be financed by employers’ health benefit plans. In a new post for the Health Affairs blog, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette joins the Urban Institute’s Linda Blumberg and Michael Simpson in a look at the data. They find that relying on group plan coverage alone would place an excessive burden on workers. Continue reading

Comparing Short-term Health Plans is Practically Impossible for Consumers

The Trump administration has promoted short-term health plans as a cheap substitute for comprehensive, Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance. In this guest post for CHIRblog, former Montana insurance regulator Christina L. Goe reviewed a wide range short-term plan policies and found multiple confusing and complicated plan terms that make it difficult for consumers to assess and compare plans and could expose them to considerable financial risk. Continue reading

Limitations of Short-Term Health Plans Persist Despite Predictions That They’d Evolve

The Congressional Budget Office and others predicted that short-term health plans would become more generous in the wake of the Trump administration’s policy to encourage their use as an alternative to Affordable Care Act coverage. In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR experts reviewed over 400 short-term plan policies to determine if, in fact, they have become more comprehensive over time. Continue reading

One Victim of the COVID-19 Pandemic? State Health Policy

State legislative sessions are typically a flurry of health policy activity. In recent years, state lawmakers have taken action to stabilize their insurance markets and increase access to coverage. But like so many other constants we have come to rely on, state legislative sessions took a hit this year from the novel coronavirus pandemic, putting current and future state policy initiatives in jeopardy. Continue reading

Effects of Medicaid Health Plan Dominance on the Health Insurance Marketplaces

Medicaid insurers dominate many of the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplaces. Some health system stakeholders have raised concerns about the potential negative consequences of Medicaid insurer participation in the market, largely due to their limited networks. In a new report supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHIR and Urban Institute experts assess how Medicaid insurers function in the marketplace. Continue reading