Trump’s Executive Order: Can Association Health Plans Accomplish What Congress Could Not?

In the wake of failed Congressional efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Trump has threatened to issue an executive order that could effectively roll back key protections for people with pre-existing conditions. In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Kevin Lucia and Sabrina Corlette assess the proposed regulatory changes and their impact on consumers and insurance markets. Continue reading

ACA “Bare Counties”: Policy Options to Ensure Access Must Address Longer-Term Stability and Competition

September 27th marks the day most insurers have to formally decide whether they’ll stay in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces in 2018. While the danger of bare counties seems to have subsided, many more counties appear likely to have just one insurer offering marketplace coverage. In their latest blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts look at the policy options for ensuring access and competition. Continue reading

Down to the Wire: Indecision on ACA Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments Creates Confusion for States

The Trump administration’s indecision over whether to reimburse insurance companies for Affordable Care Act cost-sharing reduction plans has created considerable confusion and complexity for insurers and the state departments of insurance that regulate them. In their latest blog post for The Commonwealth Fund, Sabrina Corlette and Kevin Lucia review the directives that state insurance regulators have provided to their health insurers, and how those directives will likely affect consumers, insurers, and federal taxpayers. Continue reading

Short-Term Health Plans: Still Bad for Consumers and the Individual Market

Some state and federal policymakers are urging HHS to relax Obama-era rules for short-term limited duration health plans, arguing they provide a cheaper alternative to ACA-compliant coverage. But a close examination of these plans reveals significant risks for consumers and the ACA marketplaces as a whole. In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR experts Dania Palanker, Kevin Lucia, and Emily Curran share the results of a deep dive into what’s covered – and what’s not – in short-term plans. Continue reading

Amid Market Uncertainty, Trump Administration Retreats from Health Plan Oversight

In mid-April, the Trump administration announced it would stop monitoring marketplace plans for compliance with several important federal protections and instead defer to states. In their latest blog post for The Commonwealth Fund, Justin Giovannelli and Kevin Lucia explain the new changes to insurance oversight, and assess the potential impact of this federal deregulation for states and consumers. Continue reading

Signs of Marketplace Stability May Be Undercut by Federal Policy Uncertainty

Recently, analysts have found evidence of marketplace stability after a number of insurers scaled back participation and increased premiums for 2017. Despite this progress, federal efforts to repeal and replace the ACA have sparked growing concerns about the marketplace’s sustainability. To understand how insurers are faring in the marketplaces amidst federal reform activity, CHIR experts reviewed the first quarter financial earnings of seven of the largest, publicly traded insurers. Continue reading

New Georgetown Issue Brief: 50-state Survey of State Action to Protect Consumers from Surprise Medical Bills

Balance billing occurs when a consumer who is treated by an out-of-network provider is subsequently billed by that provider for the difference between what their health plan paid and what the provider charges. In their latest issue brief published by the Commonwealth Fund, Kevin Lucia, Jack Hoadley, and Ashley Williams analyzed laws in all fifty states and the District of Columbia to understand the current scope of state laws that protect consumers from balance billing. Continue reading

2017 Federal and State Marketplace Trends Show Value of Outreach

The fourth open enrollment period ended in early 2017, with dwindling momentum behind enrollment efforts at the federal level following the presidential election. In a new publication for the Commonwealth Fund, Emily Curran, Sabrina Corlette, Kevin Lucia and Justin Giovannelli provide an overview of potential factors influencing enrollment changes in the state-based marketplaces, including increased efforts that may have had a positive effect on final selections. Continue reading

Loss of Cost-Sharing Reductions in the ACA Marketplace: Impact on Consumers and Insurer Participation

In an updated article published on The Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point site, CHIR experts JoAnn Volk, Dania Palanker, Justin Giovannelli and Kevin Lucia examine the possibility that the Trump administration will pull the plug on the Affordable Care Act’s cost-sharing reduction subsidies, and discuss the potential consequences for individual health insurance markets and the consumers who rely on it. Continue reading