New Addition to Advocate Toolkit Highlights Options for Protecting Consumers Amidst Expansion of Short-Term Plans

In July, a federal district court judge upheld the Trump administration’s rule expanding availability of short-term, limited duration insurance, or short-term plans, which do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. With the help of CHIR experts, Community Catalyst has published another resource for state advocates and policymakers, providing an overview of short-term plans, insight on unscrupulous sales practices that leave consumers at risk, and state regulatory options. Continue reading

New Resources Arm Advocates with Tools to Defend Essential Health Benefits, Pre-Existing Condition Protections

On July 9, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Texas v. United States, the court case challenging the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) constitutionality. The litigation is ongoing, but if the plaintiffs prevail, the law could be overturned in its entirety. With the federal court case looming, state policymakers and advocates are looking for ways to preserve access to coverage in the absence of the ACA’s protections, including steps to codify the law’s key provisions into state law. To aid in these efforts, Community Catalyst has teamed up with CHIR experts to create two new guides for its health insurance reform toolkit: The Advocate’s Guide to Pre-Existing Condition Protections and The Advocate’s Guide to Essential Health Benefits. Continue reading

States Looking to Run Their Own Health Insurance Marketplace See Opportunity for Funding, Flexibility

Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation to establish a state-based health insurance marketplace. Recently, along with Pennsylvania, several states have taken steps towards transitioning to their own marketplace and enrollment platform. In their newest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab and JoAnn Volk review the latest state actions to transition to a state-run platform and break down some of the incentives for states to leave the federal marketplace. Continue reading

States Leaning In: Washington Doubles Down on Efforts to Shore up Market, Protect Consumers

In the wake of federal actions to roll back the Affordable Care Act’s reforms, states have assumed an even greater role in protecting consumers and ensuring market stability. Washington State, a long-time leader in state health insurance reform, has taken up that mantle. Since our last post highlighting Washington’s policy playbook, the state has implemented several more policies to preserve their insurance market and bolster consumer protections. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a look at some of the state’s new developments. Continue reading

Coming up Short: The Problem with Counting Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance as Coverage

In April, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis of federal legislation to reverse the Trump administration’s rule expanding access to short-term, limited duration insurance policies, which do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. CBO estimated that reversing the rule would result in 500,000 people going uninsured, predicated on the assumption that most short-term plans count as “insurance.” For people with preexisting conditions, nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading

New Reinsurance Toolkit for State Advocates

Last month, North Dakota enacted legislation to establish a state reinsurance program, and a number states are considering similar bills. To help state consumer advocates engage with state officials on reinsurance and other health insurance reform issues, Community Catalyst, with support from CHIR experts, launched a new website that will house a health insurance reform toolkit for advocates. First up: The Advocate’s Guide to Reinsurance. Continue reading

ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment Numbers Reveal the Impact of State-Level Policy and Operational Choices on Performance

During the last open enrollment period, the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces faced a number of headwinds, including federal policy changes predicted to curb enrollment. Given myriad obstacles to enrollment efforts, it came as no surprise that overall marketplace plan selections dropped slightly this year. But a deeper dive into enrollment trends reveals that most state-based marketplaces outperformed the federally facilitated marketplace. In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab and Sabrina Corlette unpack data from the recent open enrollment period to see how the marketplaces performed during a turbulent time, finding that certain policy and operational decisions were associated with better results. Continue reading

Proposed Rule on Basic Health Program Impedes States’ Progress

Recently, CMS issued a proposed rule modifying the federal funding methodology for the Basic Health Program (BHP) for 2019 and 2020. Under the proposal, technical changes could cause participating states to lose $300 million in federal funding. While funding for the programs is being debated, we checked in on how Minnesota and New York’s BHPs are faring amidst federal uncertainty. Continue reading