October Research Round Up: What We’re Reading

From price variation in hospital services paid by private insurers to how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has affected part-time workers, researchers have brought us plenty of interesting health policy findings this month. In October, CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe breaks down studies that examine coverage trends, health care costs, immigrant health, and insurers’ marketplace participation and financial performance. Continue reading

Trump Administration Hands States Another Tool for Dismantling Preexisting Condition Protections

Last week, the Trump administration issued long-anticipated guidance regarding the ACA’s Section 1332 “innovation waiver” program. The guidance breaks dramatically with past policy and, arguably, with the statute it purports to interpret, inviting states to undermine coverage for people with preexisting conditions. CHIR’s Justin Giovannelli analyzes the guidance and its implications. Continue reading

Virginia’s Enrollment Season Perfect Storm

Across the country, states are yet again dealing with policy changes just before the fall open enrollment season. Virginia, however, is a special case. The state is dealing with simultaneous implementation of Medicaid expansion, expanded short-term limited duration insurance and association health plans, and changes to the definition of sole proprietors for small employers, all with less funding for the navigator program. CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe breaks down how each change affects Virginians. Continue reading

States Lean In as the Federal Government Cuts Back: Navigator and Advertising Funding for the ACA’s Sixth Open Enrollment

With open enrollment into the Affordable Care Act marketplaces beginning November 1st, there will be considerable divergence among states in the amount of information and personalized assistance consumers receive about coverage options. While the federally run marketplace has dramatically cut back its investments in both advertising and the Navigator program, the state-based marketplaces are making big investments in those activities. In their latest To The Point blog for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette and Rachel Schwab discuss the findings from a new survey of state-based marketplaces. Continue reading

Direct Primary Care Arrangements Raise Questions for State Insurance Regulators

Over the past year, new health coverage products that are not subject to the consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act have hit the individual market. One type of limited health-insurance-like offering that was already available but is now gaining attention is a direct primary care arrangement. For Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, experts at CHIR took a closer look at state law to understand how states regulate these entities and highlight some of the concerns that state insurance regulators might want to consider going forward. Continue reading

States Opt to Run their Own Exchanges to Save Money, Reclaim Autonomy

Last month, the Board of New Mexico’s health insurance exchange voted to transition from HealthCare.gov to a state-based exchange. The state will undertake the task of building its own eligibility and enrollment platform with the hopes of launching a website in time for the 2021 plan year. This is the same exchange that, in 2015, called the federal platform HealthCare.gov the “safest, most risk-free way to proceed.” So, what changed? CHIR’s Rachel Schwab looks at the reasons behind the growing call to leave HealthCare.gov. Continue reading

What’s New for 2019 Marketplace Enrollment? Get Ready for Updated, Improved Navigator Resource Guide

On November 1, the sixth open enrollment period begins for marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act. We at CHIR will soon re-launch our updated Navigator Resource Guide, which provides information on recent policy changes, a list of enrollment tools for consumers and assisters, and answers to hundreds of frequently asked questions. To learn what’s new for 2019, read our CHIRBlog summarizing the major policy changes consumers might encounter this year. Continue reading

The Trump Administration’s Association Health Plans Emerge: What Early Announcements Tell Us About this New Market

This past summer, the Department of Labor (DOL) finalized a regulation calling for the expansion of association health plans (AHPs) for small businesses and self-employed individuals. There continue to be significant questions about the impact of the rule, including how many associations will form, the role major medical insurers will play in AHP administration and marketing, and the extent to which AHPs can offer cheaper premiums than plans that must meet federal and state consumer protection standards. Now, with the rule for fully insured AHPs effective on September 1, we are starting to see AHPs emerge as groups take advantage of the relaxed requirements. Continue reading

Proposed “Public Charge” Rule Risks Immigrants’ Access to Private Coverage, Too

A federal proposal would make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain a green card if they’ve received certain public benefits like Medicaid. Although the policy doesn’t include the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credits in its list of public benefits, there are several ways the proposed rule could place immigrants’ access to private coverage at risk. Sabrina Corlette takes a look. Continue reading