Stakeholders React to HHS’ Proposed Market Stabilization Regulations: Part 2 – Consumer Advocates

Last month, the Department of Health & Human Services released proposed rules aimed at stabilizing the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces. After a 20-day comment period, they received close to 4,000 public comments. In the second post in our series on the reactions of health care stakeholders, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab looks at comments from consumer advocacy groups. Continue reading

Twelve Days of Coverage

Despite the gloom and doom surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), when we look back at what the ACA has achieved, there is cause to celebrate this holiday season. Six years after President Barack Obama signed the ACA into law, we have the lowest uninsured rate and record enrollment numbers on Healthcare.Gov, showing just how much people need and want comprehensive health insurance. As we hum along to our favorite holiday hits, CHIR has composed a new carol to pay homage to the monumental health care law that has led to unprecedented coverage and consumer protections. Happy holidays! Continue reading

The Final Countdown for 2017 Coverage Underway in the Shadows of Affordable Care Act Repeal

Extended to December 19, 2016, consumers have four more days to enroll in an Affordable Care Act marketplace plan that starts January 1, 2017. With an incoming Congress and President-Elect promising to repeal the health care law, consumers may have questions about what will happen to their coverage or why they should bother to enroll. Before the sun sets on this year’s open enrollment season, we’ve answered a couple of common consumer questions. Continue reading

From Acne to EcZema: The Return of Medical Underwriting Puts Millions at Risk for Losing Coverage or Higher Premiums

Medical underwriting, outlawed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a practice used by insurance companies to assess a consumer’s health status. In the event of an ACA repeal, millions of people could lose coverage, pay higher premiums, or receive inadequate benefits that exclude essential health services, all based on a pre-existing condition. While many of us don’t see ourselves as falling under that category, the list of health conditions that qualify you for the chopping block may surprise you. Continue reading

A Lot to Lose: What’s on the Line for Women if the Affordable Care Act is Repealed

It’s the holiday season, but rather than visions of sugar plums dancing above our heads, we have visions of mammogram machines, birth control, doctor offices, and medical bills. Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), women faced numerous barriers obtaining affordable health care. After years of insurance industry practices like gender rating and pre-existing condition exclusions, the ACA ushered in a new era for women’s health, eliminating those discriminatory and unfair insurance practices from the insurance market. Continue reading

Though the ACA Faces Tough Critics, Millions are Having an Easier Time Paying Medical Bills

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has extended insurance coverage to 22 million people, but the law’s critics often point to the high out-of-pocket costs in some of the ACA’s marketplace health plans. And while many people do face high deductibles and cost-sharing for health care services, a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that dramatically fewer people are struggling to pay medical bills, compared to what they faced before the ACA. Continue reading

In the Midst of Federal ACA Woes, States Play an Important Consumer Protection Role

In Washington, our health policy minds are on system overload. Since the election last week, the town is buzzing about the President-elect and new Congress’ promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as one of their first legislative actions. At the same time, they have also pledged allegiance to some of the law’s market reforms. Since most of those reforms are enforced at the state level, a continued state role will be critical to preserving these vital consumer protections. Continue reading