An Opportunity to Protect Consumers and Ensure a Level Playing Field: Reversing Trump-era Rules on Association Health Plans

An executive order from President Biden is likely to prompt a review of Trump administration rules encouraging association health plans (AHPs) exempt from critical Affordable Care Act protections. CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette and Kevin Lucia assess what’s at stake and share thoughts on optimal federal policy going forward. Continue reading

Workplace Wellness Programs Have Overlooked Health Equity

One of President Biden’s first executive actions was to require the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to withdraw regulations governing workplace wellness programs. CHIR’s Julie Zuckerbrod considers how these programs can exacerbate racial and ethnic inequities in health care access and outcomes, and opportunities for the Biden administration to advance equity-focused regulations. Continue reading

Expanded Coverage For COVID-19 Testing Must Include Limits On Costs

President Biden has issued an Executive Order likely to expand the mandate for private insurers to cover, and waive cost-sharing, for COVID-19 testing. However, the Brookings Institution’s Loren Adler and Sabrina Corlette argue in a new blog post for Health Affairs that Congress will also need to act to ensure that the mandate doesn’t encourage price gouging by providers, and to fully eliminate cost barriers to universal testing. Continue reading

The No Surprises Act: Implications for States

In the waning days of 2020, Congress enacted the No Surprises Act, which provides, for the first time, protections for consumers against surprise bills from out-of-network medical providers. The legislation has numerous implications for states that have their own balance billing protections, as well as for those that do not. In their latest Expert Perspective article for the State Health & Value Strategies program, JoAnn Volk and Sabrina Corlette review some of the more critical issues state regulators will need to consider as this new federal law is implemented. Continue reading

Unpacking The No Surprises Act: An Opportunity To Protect Millions

Congress included the No Surprises Act in the omnibus spending bill that was passed and signed into law by President Trump on December 27, 2020. The bill protects patients from unexpected bills for out-of-network emergency and other services consumers are unable to agree to in advance. Georgetown experts Jack Hoadley, Katie Keith, and Kevin Lucia unpack the legislation in a blog post for Health Affairs. Continue reading

2020 – It’s a Wrap. CHIR Takes Stock of a Tumultuous, but Busy Year

We at Georgetown CHIR look back at this tumultuous, tragic, and eventful year and are thankful we have the opportunity to do the work we do. When the world went on lock down in early March, our team quickly pivoted to researching and writing about the government response to COVID-19 and its impact on health care coverage. We also wrote about surprise balance billing, junk insurance, and trends in provider-payer dynamics We share some of the highlights from our work here. Continue reading

Stable Rates Reflect Strength of ACA Marketplaces

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many predicted that insurers would need to dramatically hike their premiums. As it turned out, the opposite occurred, with average rates declining for 2021. In an Expert Perspective post for the State Health & Value Strategies program, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette and Manatt Health’s Joel Ario examine the factors that led to a stable year for ACA insurance rates. Continue reading

COVID-19 and MLR Guidance on Risk Corridor Recoveries: State Options for Restoring Funds to Policyholders and the Public

The Supreme Court has required the federal government to reimburse health insurers for an estimated $12.3 billion in unpaid risk corridor funds and the Trump administration recently published guidance to insurers that affects the amount to be returned to policyholders. In an Expert Perspective for the State Health & Value Strategies program, Sabrina Corlette and Jason Levitis consider the effects of this guidance and state options for redirecting insurers’ extra cash to benefit policyholders and the public. Continue reading