October Research Round Up: What We’re Reading

From price variation in hospital services paid by private insurers to how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has affected part-time workers, researchers have brought us plenty of interesting health policy findings this month. In October, CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe breaks down studies that examine coverage trends, health care costs, immigrant health, and insurers’ marketplace participation and financial performance. Continue reading

Virginia’s Enrollment Season Perfect Storm

Across the country, states are yet again dealing with policy changes just before the fall open enrollment season. Virginia, however, is a special case. The state is dealing with simultaneous implementation of Medicaid expansion, expanded short-term limited duration insurance and association health plans, and changes to the definition of sole proprietors for small employers, all with less funding for the navigator program. CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe breaks down how each change affects Virginians. Continue reading

States Lean In as the Federal Government Cuts Back: Navigator and Advertising Funding for the ACA’s Sixth Open Enrollment

With open enrollment into the Affordable Care Act marketplaces beginning November 1st, there will be considerable divergence among states in the amount of information and personalized assistance consumers receive about coverage options. While the federally run marketplace has dramatically cut back its investments in both advertising and the Navigator program, the state-based marketplaces are making big investments in those activities. In their latest To The Point blog for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette and Rachel Schwab discuss the findings from a new survey of state-based marketplaces. Continue reading

States Opt to Run their Own Exchanges to Save Money, Reclaim Autonomy

Last month, the Board of New Mexico’s health insurance exchange voted to transition from HealthCare.gov to a state-based exchange. The state will undertake the task of building its own eligibility and enrollment platform with the hopes of launching a website in time for the 2021 plan year. This is the same exchange that, in 2015, called the federal platform HealthCare.gov the “safest, most risk-free way to proceed.” So, what changed? CHIR’s Rachel Schwab looks at the reasons behind the growing call to leave HealthCare.gov. Continue reading

September Research Round Up: What We’re Reading

This September, CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe focuses in on health care spending and costs with new studies on how consolidation impacts individual market premiums, spending under employer-sponsored health insurance, the effects of removing financial incentives for quality, and pharmaceutical reference pricing. With health care costs at the forefront of consumers’ minds, these new studies shed light on what contributes to America’s exorbitant health spending. Continue reading

New Report Shows Role of Medicaid Expansion in Rural Area, Small Town Health Coverage

Under the Affordable Care Act, 33 states and the District of Columbia expanded Medicaid, greatly increasing coverage under the public program. In a new report, our sister center,
the Center for Children and Families, examines the impact of Medicaid expansion on health coverage in rural areas and small towns, communities that for many years have faced high premiums and limited choices on the private insurance market. Continue reading

Federal Flexibility Grants Highlight State Priorities for Market Stability

Last month, the Department of Health & Human Services awarded $8.6 million in grants to 30 states and the District of Columbia to provide additional support to implement certain ACA market reforms, including guaranteed issue, guaranteed renewal, and the Essential Health Benefits. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab took a look at how states plan to use the federal funding, and what tops the list of state market stabilization and consumer protection priorities. Continue reading

Massive Navigator Funding Cuts Pose Risks for Consumers, Marketplaces

On September 12, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services released the in-person assistance awards for the 2018-2019 enrollment season. The Administration allotted $10 million to the federally facilitated marketplaces, a more than 80 percent drop in funding over two years. CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe explains the risks the funding cuts pose on consumers and the ACA marketplaces. Continue reading

When Policy and Politics Conflict: Challenges to State-level Market Stabilization Efforts

Within the last month, Delaware has adopted two policies with diametrically different effects on their small business insurance market. One would help make the market stronger and more stable, the other would do the opposite. CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette delves into some of the challenges facing states seeking to stabilize their health insurance markets during a time of considerable policy upheaval. Continue reading