State Options Blog Series: Streamlined, Direct Marketplace Enrollment Has Risks, Benefits, but Much Depends on State Oversight

In the fourth of a multi-part blog series on state options in the wake of federal actions to roll back or relax Affordable Care Act regulation, JoAnn Volk reviews recent changes to an enrollment pathway that may prove helpful in boosting enrollment, but also comes with potential risks for consumers. She discusses what state insurance regulators can do to ensure consumers are protected from pitfalls. Continue reading

Got Questions on Private Health Insurance? Get the New and Improved Navigator Resource Guide

Marketplace enrollment is upon us. November 1 marks the start to the fifth open enrollment season. To help marketplace Navigators and others assisting consumers with marketplace eligibility and enrollment, we at CHIR have updated and improved our Navigator Resource Guide. The Guide houses over 300 frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers about all things marketplace coverage-related, as well as information about employer-sponsored coverage. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn highlights some of the changes. Continue reading

The Next Round of Obamacare Regulations are Coming Soon: What Consumer Advocates Want to See

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.
Continue reading

Lots of Changes for 2018 Marketplace Enrollment Mean Confusion for Consumers

Open enrollment will be here sooner than we know it. But this year’s open enrollment, will be quite different from previous years due to numerous policy changes and proposed budget cuts to marketplace consumer outreach, assistance, and enrollment system under the Trump administration. These changes will make it much more confusing for consumers and place much more of a burden on the assisters that help them. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn summarizes some of the change in store for 2018 open enrollment. Continue reading

Kaiser Family Foundation Survey on Assister Programs Reflects Signs of Progress – and Opportunities for Improvement

Assister programs and brokers play an integral role of navigating consumers through the marketplace enrollment process. Kaiser Family Foundation’s recent survey of these stakeholders indicates these programs will continue to be needed given the knowledge gaps that still exist among consumers and the high proportion of consumers who seek help with renewal. Current legal intern and guest blogger, Emma Chapman (Georgetown JD/MPP, expected 2018), summarizes the main findings of the survey. 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