Federal and State Policymakers Work to Ensure Continuity of Health Care for Consumers

Sabrina Corlette, Ashley Williams and Kevin Lucia

Federal health insurance officials and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) have recently issued new proposals to protect patients when a doctor or hospital leaves their health plan’s network. As insurers in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces have shifted towards narrower provider networks, policymakers have recognized that consumers, particularly those in the midst of a course of treatment or during a pregnancy, should have peace of mind that they’ll be able to maintain their relationship with their provider without undue financial hardship.

These issues are not new, however. Many states enacted continuity of care protections in the 1990s, as insurers shifted from broad provider networks to HMO-style closed networks. The proposed new federal rules and the NAIC’s model state law are both grounded in these longstanding state laws, although the scope and strength of the state continuity of care protections vary widely.

In their latest blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR researchers Sabrina Corlette, Ashley Williams and Kevin Lucia provide a 50-state overview of state continuity of care protections, and assess how they compare to the federal proposal. To read more, visit the Commonwealth Fund blog, here.

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