Policy Experts Talk Strategies, Obstacles for “Repeal and Replace”

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased access to health care by expanding coverage and reducing the number of uninsured, but problems facing consumers and insurers have some calling for repealing, replacing, or repairing the law. It seems every day we are presented with a new replacement plan or proposed rule, leaving the future of the health care landscape uncertain. Recently, CHIR sent Rachel Schwab to cover two D.C. events that brought together health policy experts to discuss the options and obstacles in front of us. Continue reading

Health Plan Restrictions on Contraceptive Coverage: It’s like asking people to “renew their seat belt each month”

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has lowered financial barriers to birth control by requiring health plans to cover contraceptives at no cost sharing, but restrictions limit the availability and affordability of certain methods. While we’ve come a long way in ensuring access to this essential service, one hundred years after Margaret Sanger opened the first Planned Parenthood clinic in Brooklyn, nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Addressing the unmet need for contraceptives and enabling women to maintain consistent and accurate drug use is a public health issue that affects insurers, consumers, and providers. Continue reading

CHIR Expert Sabrina Corlette Talks Marketplace Problems, Possible Solutions at Alliance for Health Reform Briefing

On Monday, September 26th, CHIR’s very own Sabrina Corlette spoke at a briefing on the future of ACA marketplaces put on by the Alliance for Health Reform. Ms. Corlette joined representatives from Anthem, the American Action Forum, and Covered California to discuss the forecast for 2017 and potential policy solutions to expand coverage and access in the individual market. Continue reading

Understanding Consumers’ Experience with Health Insurance: New California Report on Complaints Provides Insights

Earlier this month, the California Office of the Patient Advocate (OPA) released its first annual report cataloguing consumer complaints and inquiries about their health plans across four California state health agencies. The report examines 27,028 consumer complaints that were closed in 2014. CHIR’s Hannah Ellison explores highlights of the report and discusses its potential for impact. Continue reading

HHS Study Shows Benefits of Shopping and Subsidies, but Costs Still a Concern

With health insurers’ rate filings looming on the horizon, many are concerned we’ll see proposed premium increases for 2017. But a report released last week demonstrates that, behind the headlines, consumers are likely to see more affordable premiums after they’ve shopped for the best deal. At the same time, another study shows that consumers’ out-of-pocket costs for health services are steadily rising. Sean Miskell has the details. Continue reading

Accessing Provider Directories and Formularies: CHIR Goes Sleuthing

We’re counting down again to Open Enrollment 3 and this year, all health plans must make accessing provider directories and formularies, or the list of covered prescription drugs, easy for consumers. This means consumers should be able to find this information on insurer website sites without creating an account or entering a policy number. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn flexes her investigative skills and looks to see how accessible this information really is. Continue reading

Why ACA Marketplaces Should Report Comprehensive Enrollment Data

The Affordable Care Act’s new health insurance marketplaces could be critical sources of data about how people access and use coverage. Yet, to date, the marketplaces have released varying degrees of information, with little uniformity or consensus over what data should be collected and how. In our latest post for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR researchers Sean Miskell, Justin Giovannelli and Kevin Lucia examine data collection and reporting by the health insurance marketplaces. Continue reading

What CHIP Implementation Can Teach Us

The early problems with the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces are frustrating. But if history is any guide, they will be temporary – and we can learn from them. Gene Lewit, a CHIP expert who lived through that law’s roll out in the 1990s, blogs about his new report, which finds that enrollment in new major health insurance expansions will be slow at first and expose problems that even the most careful planning might not have anticipated. Continue reading

New Report: States Going Above and Beyond to Create Sustainable Exchanges and Deliver Choice and Value to Consumers

In a new report for The Commonwealth Fund, Sarah Dash, Kevin Lucia, Katie Keith, and Christine Monahan provide a comprehensive look at the critical design decisions made by 17 states and the District of Columbia that chose to establish a state-based exchange for 2014. Sarah Dash has highlights from the report and discusses what the findings mean for stakeholders. Continue reading