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

What Makes Covering Maternity Care Different?

The United States has a higher maternal mortality rate than any other developed country, but federal policy makers are considering reducing access to insurance coverage for pregnancy care. In a post for the Health Affairs blog, CHIR experts Dania Palanker and Kevin Lucia and Harkness Fellow Dimitra Panteli assess the latest policy proposal to allow states to waive out of the requirement that insurance plans in the individual market cover maternity and newborn care. Continue reading

Lots of Changes for 2018 Marketplace Enrollment Mean Confusion for Consumers

Open enrollment will be here sooner than we know it. But this year’s open enrollment, will be quite different from previous years due to numerous policy changes and proposed budget cuts to marketplace consumer outreach, assistance, and enrollment system under the Trump administration. These changes will make it much more confusing for consumers and place much more of a burden on the assisters that help them. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn summarizes some of the change in store for 2018 open enrollment. Continue reading

The Ins and Outs of the New Approach to Special Enrollment Periods: Pre-enrollment Verification (SEPV)

Starting June 23, 2017, healthcare.gov will be rolling out a special enrollment period pre-enrollment verification (SEPV) process, which will require new consumers applying for marketplace coverage because of loss of minimum essential coverage (MEC) or permanently moving to prove their eligibility for a special enrollment period. How will this process work and what do consumer assisters need to know? CHIR’s Sandy Ahn provides a summary. Continue reading

Relaxing the Affordable Care Act’s Guaranteed Issue Protection: Issues for Consumers and State Options

As we’ve been blogging about, the Trump administration finalized a Market Stabilization rule that makes numerous changes in how marketplaces and insurers are operating. One of the biggest changes affecting consumers is the Trump administration’s new interpretation of guaranteed issue or availability; but states have a range of options regarding this policy under the rule. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn and JoAnn Volk break it down for us. Continue reading

Running Down the Clock: Policy Uncertainty over Affordable Care Act Means Less Time for Oversight of Premium Hikes

Insurers are required to submit their health plans and premium rates for regulatory review in the face of considerable uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. In their latest post for The Commonwealth Fund, Sabrina Corlette and Kevin Lucia examine the sources of this uncertainty, how it affects insurers’ ability to plan for the coming year, and what it means for state and federal regulators who must assess the reasonableness of proposed premium hikes. Continue reading

Responding to the Opioid Crisis: Insurers Balance Stepped up Monitoring, Restrictions with Need for Appropriate Pain Treatment

The United States has an opioid epidemic, with an unprecedented number of opioid-related deaths in recent years. The rise in opioid addiction and overdose is further complicated by the need to effectively treat the approximately 100 million people living with chronic pain. In their latest issue brief for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHIR experts report on how insurers are responding to the opioid crisis while also meeting the needs of members living with chronic pain. Continue reading