Risky Business: Health Actuaries Assess the Individual Market and Rates

As the health care debate continues, we face a number of unknowns. Congressional leadership and President Trump vowed to repeal the ACA, but have yet to reach a consensus on the replacement plan. Meanwhile, consumers and insurers are making big decisions about health plans without knowing what the individual market will look like. Predicting the impact of unknown events is no easy task; if you’ve misplaced your crystal ball, the American Academy of Actuaries (AAA) recently released an issue paper on the future of the individual market, lending their expertise to a debate riddled with uncertainty. Continue reading

Repealing The ACA Could Worsen The Opioid Epidemic

As our country grapples with an “unprecedented opioid epidemic,” Congress is taking steps to take away an important tool to fight it — the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a post for the Health Affairs blog, CHIR expert Dania Palanker and Urban Institute researchers Lisa Clemans-Cope and Jane Wishner assess policies and programs under the ACA that have helped tackle the opioid crisis and what could be lost if they are repealed. Continue reading

Promising Steps to Strengthen Marketplace Risk Pools Could be in Vain, if Affordable Care Act is Repealed

While critics have been describing the demise of the marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act, the Obama Administration has been taking steps to strengthen the risk pool and to ensure its long-term sustainability. These promising steps are now at risk under the threat of repeal with nothing to replace approach that Congressional leaders and the new administration seem to be taking. At risk and in jeopardy is the coverage of millions of people. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn takes a look. Continue reading

Busting the “Falling under its Own Weight” Myth: New Analysis Shows Better Outlook for the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces

It’s a new year, and with it comes new hope for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) exchanges. Wall Street analysts recently released research that shows improvements in insurers’ finances for 2016, predicting even better margins for future years. But just as the markets are starting to stabilize, the incoming Congress and Administration are threatening to undo them. Continue reading

Tick Tock: An Unforgiving Calendar for Health Plans Makes Orderly “Transition” for Affordable Care Act Repeal Unlikely

The incoming Congress and Administration have pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act but hope to minimize disruption by providing for a transition period. However, insurers must make key decisions about health plans and pricing far in advance of bringing those plans to market. In an ongoing series of articles for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts Sabrina Corlette and Kevin Lucia partner with Julie Andrews of Wakely Consulting Group to examine how the uncertainty created by Congressional action could result in far fewer plan choices and significantly higher premiums for consumers. Continue reading

Twelve Days of Coverage

Despite the gloom and doom surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), when we look back at what the ACA has achieved, there is cause to celebrate this holiday season. Six years after President Barack Obama signed the ACA into law, we have the lowest uninsured rate and record enrollment numbers on Healthcare.Gov, showing just how much people need and want comprehensive health insurance. As we hum along to our favorite holiday hits, CHIR has composed a new carol to pay homage to the monumental health care law that has led to unprecedented coverage and consumer protections. Happy holidays! Continue reading

The Final Countdown for 2017 Coverage Underway in the Shadows of Affordable Care Act Repeal

Extended to December 19, 2016, consumers have four more days to enroll in an Affordable Care Act marketplace plan that starts January 1, 2017. With an incoming Congress and President-Elect promising to repeal the health care law, consumers may have questions about what will happen to their coverage or why they should bother to enroll. Before the sun sets on this year’s open enrollment season, we’ve answered a couple of common consumer questions. Continue reading

From Acne to EcZema: The Return of Medical Underwriting Puts Millions at Risk for Losing Coverage or Higher Premiums

Medical underwriting, outlawed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a practice used by insurance companies to assess a consumer’s health status. In the event of an ACA repeal, millions of people could lose coverage, pay higher premiums, or receive inadequate benefits that exclude essential health services, all based on a pre-existing condition. While many of us don’t see ourselves as falling under that category, the list of health conditions that qualify you for the chopping block may surprise you. Continue reading