Surprise Billing Protections: Help Finally Arrives for Millions of Americans

Congress enacted the “No Surprises Act” as part of the $900 billion COVID-19 relief and government spending bill. The Act will protect millions of patients from surprise out-of-network medical bills. In their latest To the Point post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts Jack Hoadley, Kevin Lucia, and Beth Fuchs unpack the legislation and what it means for patients. Continue reading

The Benefits and Limitations of State-Run Individual Market Reinsurance

The Affordable Care Act brought about historic coverage gains, providing millions of Americans with vital access to comprehensive health insurance. But for many, high premiums continue to present a major barrier to coverage. States have adopted various policies to make health plans on the individual market more affordable, pursuing one approach more than others: reinsurance. In a new issue brief for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts explore the benefits and limitations of state-run individual market reinsurance programs. Continue reading

The COVID-19 Vaccine is Coming, but Will it Be Paid For? Federal and State Policies to Fill Gaps in Insurance Coverage

Vaccinations against COVID-19 are on their way. For consumers in Affordable Care Act plans, immunization should have it fully covered by their insurance. In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette and Madeline O’Brien review federal and state mandates to cover the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as potential gaps consumers could still fall into. Continue reading

State Efforts to Protect Preexisting Conditions Unsustainable Without the ACA

On November 10, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that could result in the Affordable Care Act being declared unconstitutional. While there is no clear federal plan to protect people with preexisting conditions if this happens, some states have tried to enact their own laws. In their latest analysis for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Maanasa Kona and Sabrina Corlette assess whether these state-level efforts can fully protect people with preexisting conditions. Continue reading

Trump Administration Promotes Coverage That Fails to Adequately Cover Women’s Key Health Care Needs

The ACA expanded women’s access to comprehensive coverage. The Trump administration is seeking to overturn the law while promoting coverage options that are exempt from the ACA’s consumer protections, including short-term plans and health care sharing ministries. In a new post for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts examine the differences between ACA plans and the alternatives promoted by the Trump administration, finding that these products frequently exclude or severely limit coverage of services that are critical to women’s health. Continue reading

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing for Essential Workers: Considerations and Challenges for State Policymakers

States are being forced to decide how to target, administer, and finance asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for essential workers in the midst of a global pandemic and their own budget crises. In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, Kevin Lucia, Sara Rosenbaum, Sabrina Corlette and Madeline O’Brien identify challenges and considerations for state policymakers. Continue reading

Comparing Short-term Health Plans is Practically Impossible for Consumers

The Trump administration has promoted short-term health plans as a cheap substitute for comprehensive, Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance. In this guest post for CHIRblog, former Montana insurance regulator Christina L. Goe reviewed a wide range short-term plan policies and found multiple confusing and complicated plan terms that make it difficult for consumers to assess and compare plans and could expose them to considerable financial risk. Continue reading

Should States’ COVID-19 Insurance Coverage Mandates Be Extended Past the Current State of Emergency?

Many states acted to expand access to health care services as part of the fight against COVID-19, mandating that insurers cover and reduce consumers’ costs for COVID-19 and other health care services. Now that the public health emergency orders in many states are expiring, what, if any, of these insurance mandates should be retained? In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette and Madeline O’Brien assess states’ options. Continue reading

During the COVID-19 Crisis, State Health Insurance Marketplaces Are Working to Enroll the Uninsured

As the coronavirus pandemic and economic shutdown continue, the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces are an important tool in covering the uninsured. In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR experts Rachel Schwab, Justin Giovannelli and Kevin Lucia explore how state-based marketplaces have worked to enroll the uninsured during the COVID-19 crisis by creating new opportunities to sign up for coverage and launching outreach campaigns. Continue reading