Health Care Sharing Ministries: What Are the Risks to Consumers and Insurance Markets?

Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSMs) are a form of health coverage in which members – who typically share a religious belief – make monthly payments to cover expenses of other members. HCSMs do not have to comply with the consumer protections of the ACA and may provide value for some individuals, but pose risks for others. We interviewed officials in 13 states and analyzed state laws in all states to better understand state regulators’ perspectives on regulation of HCSMs. Continue reading

The District of Columbia’s Coverage Requirement Is Caught in Congressional Crosshairs, and Consumers Could Pay the Price

When Congress repealed the individual mandate’s financial penalty, some states acted quickly to protect their markets from deterioration. A handful of state legislatures and the Council of the District of Columbia considered or enacted legislation creating a state-based coverage requirement. While many states faced political hurdles and unforgiving timelines in enacting their own mandates, D.C. now has an additional obstacle: the U.S. Congress. Continue reading

Coverage That (Doesn’t) Count: How the Short-Term, Limited Duration Rule Could Lead to Underinsurance

Any day now, the Trump administration is expected to publish new rules that will expand access to short-term, limited duration insurance (STLDI). These plans are allowed to discriminate against sick people, exclude coverage of essential health services, and impose lifetime and annual benefit limits. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that the majority of plans expanded under this rule will be considered health insurance. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a closer look at how CBO defines health insurance, and explains how the expansion of STLDI could lead to widespread underinsurance. Continue reading

To Understand How Consumers Are Faring in the Individual Health Insurance Markets, Watch the States

Through both inaction and design, federal policymakers have put the onus on states to ensure access to affordable, adequate health insurance. In a new work for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR researchers are launching an interactive map that will track and describe state actions likely to affect residents’ access to individual market coverage. Continue reading

Stakeholder Views on the Proposed Short-Term Plan Insurance Rule: Key Takeaways from Our Review of Comment Letters

In February, the Trump administration published a proposed rule to expand the availability of short-term, limited duration insurance by relaxing federal restrictions put in place by the Obama administration. Federal agencies received over 9,000 comments in response. In a four-part blog series, CHIR dug into comments to evaluate the proposed rule’s potential impact on consumers, major medical insurers, states, and sellers of short-term plans. Here’s what we found. Continue reading

Stakeholders Respond to the Proposed Short-Term, Limited-Duration Insurance Rule. Part II: Major Medical Insurers

The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury received over 9,000 comments on their proposed rule, which aims to expand the availability of short-term, limited duration insurance. CHIR reviewed comments submitted by health care stakeholders to better understand industry reactions to the proposal. In part two of this four-part series, CHIR’s Emily Curran analyzes comments from nine major medical insurers and associations. Continue reading

Stakeholders Respond to the Proposed Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance Rule. Part I: Consumer Advocates

Earlier this year, the Trump administration proposed rules to relax federal restrictions on short-term, limited duration insurance. After a 60-day comment period, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor (DOL) and Treasury received over 9,000 comments from individuals, organizations, and government officials. To understand the potential impact of the proposals, CHIR reviewed comments from various stakeholder groups. For the first blog in our four-part series, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab examines comments submitted by consumer and patient organizations. Continue reading

A Mother’s Day Gift Basket from Congress and the Trump Administration

This Mother’s Day, both Congress and the Trump administration have put together a special gift basket of policies that continue to threaten access to health care for women, mothers, and families everywhere. From federal funding cuts to weaker benefit requirements, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab and Dania Palanker unwrap the presents and assess their potential impact on coverage. Continue reading

States Leaning In: Washington

Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, states have embraced the law to varying degrees. While some states have refused to implement the ACA and actively oppose it, other states have leaned in, stepping up to preserve the consumer protections and market rules in the wake of federal actions to weaken the law. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab examines steps that Washington State has taken to ensure that their residents can continue to obtain affordable, high quality coverage, and how other states can do the same. Continue reading