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

In the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster and Have Questions about your Health Insurance Coverage? CHIR Experts Answer Some Frequently Asked Questions

In the wake of devastating natural disasters, consumers living in hurricane or wildfire affected areas may have questions about their marketplace health insurance. As marketplace open enrollment for 2018 coverage begins in less than a month, CHIR experts have put together answers to questions that consumers may be asking particularly around how these natural disasters affect their ability to sign up for or re-enroll into marketplace coverage. 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.
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States Take the Lead with Policies to Protect Residents with Chronic Conditions from High Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs

Lowering the cost of prescription medication has broad support over the political spectrum and there were many campaign promises to reduce prices. But to date, there’s been little federal action. States, however, are taking the lead with policies designed to protect consumers with chronic conditions from high out-of-pocket costs associated with expensive specialty drugs. A new CHIR brief details the findings from a 50-state survey of such policies and observations from supplementary interviews with state regulators, insurance company representatives and consumer advocates. Continue reading

Healthcare.gov Rolls out Two Operational Changes Related to Verifying Special Enrollment Periods and Immigration Status

While Congress shifts away from talking about how to replace the Affordable Care Act to stabilizing the individual market, enrollment in ACA marketplaces continues. Recently, the administration made two operational changes affecting federally facilitated marketplaces and states using healthcare.gov: phase 2 of pre-verifying special enrollment eligibility and a process to electronically resolve data matching issues related to immigration status. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn summarizes the changes. Continue reading

Important Gains under the ACA for Cancer Patients And Their Families

While there may be a respite from the push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, authored by CHIR’s JoAnn Volk and Sandy Ahn, exposes what’s at stake in the debate for cancer patients and their families. The report finds that the ACA improved access to coverage and provides significant financial protections. The report is based on more than a dozen interviews with hospital-based Financial Navigators, who work closely with cancer patients throughout their treatment and provide critical insight into the coverage experience of cancer patients. Continue reading

New Special Enrollment Roadblocks for Consumers: Hindering, not Helping Consumers Get Coverage

While Congressional leaders debate how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration recently implemented new requirements for consumers seeking a special enrollment period for marketplace coverage. Designed to prevent people from waiting until they are sick before signing up for coverage, some of these new requirements could make it more difficult to enroll; others could reduce consumers’ plan choices. Sandy Ahn summarizes the new policy changes that went into effect last month.
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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