Aggressive Medical Debt Collections: COVID-related Consumer Protections Could be a Model for Long-term Relief

A new investigative report shows that even the COVID-19 crisis has not stopped many hospital systems from using aggressive collections practices to collect on unpaid medical debt. CHIR’s Maanasa Kona takes a deep dive into the problem of medical debt and aggressive collections practices, and how the government can step in to protect consumers. Continue reading

Labor Day in a Pandemic: The Varnish of “Gold Standard” Employer Coverage is Wearing Thin

CHIRblog took a break for Labor Day, but in light of the holiday, we continue to think about problems workers face getting access to affordable health insurance. Employer plans are often touted as the “gold standard” in health insurance. But millions of workers with job-based plans are underinsured, facing high cost sharing and premiums, and the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating problems with inadequate coverage as well as insurance access. Continue reading

New Report Provides State Policy Recommendations on How to Protect Consumers, Reduce Disparities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented threats to health and safety, and exacerbates existing inequities that continue to jeopardize the wellbeing of millions of Americans. To help state policymakers during a time of great upheaval and uncertainty, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Consumer Representatives put together recommendations on access to coverage and care, health equity and racial justice, and other state policy issues. Continue reading

One Victim of the COVID-19 Pandemic? State Health Policy

State legislative sessions are typically a flurry of health policy activity. In recent years, state lawmakers have taken action to stabilize their insurance markets and increase access to coverage. But like so many other constants we have come to rely on, state legislative sessions took a hit this year from the novel coronavirus pandemic, putting current and future state policy initiatives in jeopardy. Continue reading

U.S. House Investigation Offers New Evidence on the Dangers of Short-Term Plans

On June 25, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released the results of a year-long investigation into the practices of the Short-Term Limited Duration Insurance industry. The Committee looked into 14 companies that sell or assist consumers in enrolling in short-term plans, and its findings confirm what we have known for some time – short-term plans are a bad deal for consumers. CHIR’s Emily Curran discusses five highlights from the Committee’s report, including new evidence on the status of the STLDI market. Continue reading

The COVID-19 Pandemic – Insurer Insights Into Challenges, Implications, and Lessons Learned

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has placed enormous pressure on virtually all facets of U.S. society. Much attention has appropriately been placed on the efforts of health care providers to deliver care to those infected with COVID-19. However, less is known about the experiences of the health insurers who reimburse those health care providers for the care they deliver. In a new report supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, insurance experts at CHIR and the Urban Institute share findings from interviews with executives at 25 health insurance companies on their impressions of the ongoing ramifications of the pandemic and their response to the crisis. Continue reading

Instead of Encouraging Enrollment in Comprehensive Health Coverage, New Federal Guidance Requires Taxpayers to Subsidize Health Care Sharing Ministries

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS has published a proposed rule that would grant tax advantages reserved for insurance to individuals’ spending on health care sharing ministries, raising real questions about using federal funds to promote a coverage option that fails to provide consumers with financial protection for health care expenses. JoAnn Volk walks through the proposed rule and its potential implications for consumers.
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