2016 Insurer Participation Remains Stable in State-Based Marketplaces

In the wake of the high-profile closures and departures of some health plans from the individual market, a close analysis of plan participation in the state-based marketplaces demonstrates that consumer choices remain relatively stable. In CHIR’s latest blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, Emily Curran, Justin Giovannelli and Kevin Lucia assess insurers’ participation in the state-run marketplaces and the policy levers in place to help foster competition. Continue reading

States Revisit Essential Health Benefit Requirements, but Have Little Data on Consumers’ Experiences

Federal Affordable Care Act rules require the states to revisit the standard scope of benefits for individual and small business health plans – called essential health benefits or EHB – and determine whether revisions are needed. In a new blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts examine how the states approached this task, and what it might mean for consumers. Continue reading

The Experiences of State-Run Insurance Marketplaces That Use HealthCare.gov

Whether their exchange is state-based or federally facilitated, many state policymakers are seeking ways to realize the advantages of a state-run marketplace model while minimizing, so far as possible, the financial and operational burdens of building or maintaining one. In a new issue brief for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR researchers explore the experiences of four states that established their own exchanges but have operated them with support from the federal HealthCare.gov eligibility and enrollment platform. 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

Proposed Premium Rate Increases for 2016: The Jury Is Still Out

There’s been some hand-wringing over large proposed premium increases for health plans in 2016. But it’s important to remember that rate requests vary – a lot – by insurer and location. And that these rates are only proposed. They’re subject to regulatory scrutiny, and many proposed hikes may be reduced. In their latest blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts Sean Miskell and Dave Cusano discuss the drivers of 2016 premiums and states’ role in keeping coverage affordable. Continue reading

Not One, Not Two but Three New Resources from CHIR: Small Business Health Plans in a Post-ACA World

There’s been some renewed attention to the status and future of the small business health insurance market, particularly as an Affordable Care Act reform scheduled to go into effect in 2016 could cause some disruption. Last week CHIR researchers contributed to three great new resources to help policymakers and others understand changes in the market and some of the challenges ahead. Continue reading

State Decisions on Allowing Mid-Sized Employers to Delay a Move to the Small-Group Insurance Market

Beginning in 2016, the Affordable Care Act requires states to change the definition of “small employer” from one with up to 50 employees to up to 100 employees. Such a change could affect health insurance coverage and prices for small businesses and their workers. However, many states are taking advantage of a transition period offered by the Obama Administration that would delay this change. Ashley Williams and Sabrina Corlette, in their latest blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, report on the results of a 50-state survey and the implications for the small group insurance market. Continue reading

New Proposed Rules for Network Adequacy for Medicaid Managed Care Plans – Lessons Learned from Medicare & the Marketplaces

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released draft regulations governing Medicaid managed care plans. In setting standards for network adequacy, the agency looked to both the Medicare Advantage program and the health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. Sabrina Corlette examines approaches to ensuring adequate plan networks across the three programs. Continue reading