In Congress and state legislatures across the country, policymakers are debating fixes to surprise medical bills. The federal government has yet to enact comprehensive reforms, but a number of states have taken steps to protect consumers. One such state is Texas, which last year enacted a new law holding consumers harmless in situations that commonly lead to surprise medical bills. However, the state’s new protections were almost gutted due to an implementation loophole, a cautionary tale for federal and state policymakers. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a look at what happened in Texas. Continue reading
In July, a federal district court judge upheld the Trump administration’s rule expanding availability of short-term, limited duration insurance, or short-term plans, which do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. With the help of CHIR experts, Community Catalyst has published another resource for state advocates and policymakers, providing an overview of short-term plans, insight on unscrupulous sales practices that leave consumers at risk, and state regulatory options. Continue reading
On July 9, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Texas v. United States, the court case challenging the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) constitutionality. The litigation is ongoing, but if the plaintiffs prevail, the law could be overturned in its entirety. With the federal court case looming, state policymakers and advocates are looking for ways to preserve access to coverage in the absence of the ACA’s protections, including steps to codify the law’s key provisions into state law. To aid in these efforts, Community Catalyst has teamed up with CHIR experts to create two new guides for its health insurance reform toolkit: The Advocate’s Guide to Pre-Existing Condition Protections and The Advocate’s Guide to Essential Health Benefits. Continue reading
Last month, North Dakota enacted legislation to establish a state reinsurance program, and a number states are considering similar bills. To help state consumer advocates engage with state officials on reinsurance and other health insurance reform issues, Community Catalyst, with support from CHIR experts, launched a new website that will house a health insurance reform toolkit for advocates. First up: The Advocate’s Guide to Reinsurance. Continue reading
Last year, we talked with Navigators to learn about how they reached consumers despite major funding cuts. In light of a number of new policy changes and further funding decreases, CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe checked in with Navigators and assisters from five states on how they fared in this year’s Open Enrollment, and the challenges ahead. Continue reading
Earlier this year, the Trump administration proposed rules to relax federal restrictions on short-term, limited duration insurance. After a 60-day comment period, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor (DOL) and Treasury received over 9,000 comments from individuals, organizations, and government officials. To understand the potential impact of the proposals, CHIR reviewed comments from various stakeholder groups. For the first blog in our four-part series, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab examines comments submitted by consumer and patient organizations. Continue reading
The final 2019 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters has been submitted to the White House for review. The initial proposal included a number of changes to the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits, marketplace operations, and other consumer protections. In this second post in a series of blogs analyzing public comments on the proposed rules, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab examines responses from a range of consumer advocacy groups to better understand who the rule could impact. Continue reading
With the annual rule on marketplace operations and health plans expected this fall, we take a look at how consumer advocates responded to the Trump administration’s request earlier this summer on how it could reduce the regulatory burdens of the Affordable Care Act in the last of our three-part series. These comments, along with comments from insurers and state officials, may be used to inform future rulemaking, including the rule expected this fall.