Update on Federal Mandates to Cover COVID-19 Testing Services: New Guidance for States, Plans, and Insurers

The Trump administration recently issued guidance to health insurers, determining that they are not required to cover workplace or public health surveillance testing for COVID-19. In a recent post for the State Health & Value Strategies project, Sabrina Corlette assesses what this latest federal interpretation means for states’ efforts to combat the pandemic. Continue reading

The COVID-19 Pandemic – Insurer Insights Into Challenges, Implications, and Lessons Learned

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has placed enormous pressure on virtually all facets of U.S. society. Much attention has appropriately been placed on the efforts of health care providers to deliver care to those infected with COVID-19. However, less is known about the experiences of the health insurers who reimburse those health care providers for the care they deliver. In a new report supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, insurance experts at CHIR and the Urban Institute share findings from interviews with executives at 25 health insurance companies on their impressions of the ongoing ramifications of the pandemic and their response to the crisis. Continue reading

On the Whole, Health Insurers Aren’t – Yet – Fearing COVID-19 Costs: A Review of 2021 Rate Filings

Several states ask for – and publicly post – health insurers’ proposed 2021 premium rates in May and June. These early rate filings can provide hints about how insurers are responding to market trends, policy changes, and emerging drivers of health care costs. CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette took a deep dive into insurers’ actuarial memos to find out how they’re thinking about COVID-19, repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate penalty, and more. Continue reading

Should States’ COVID-19 Insurance Coverage Mandates Be Extended Past the Current State of Emergency?

Many states acted to expand access to health care services as part of the fight against COVID-19, mandating that insurers cover and reduce consumers’ costs for COVID-19 and other health care services. Now that the public health emergency orders in many states are expiring, what, if any, of these insurance mandates should be retained? In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette and Madeline O’Brien assess states’ options. Continue reading

During the COVID-19 Crisis, State Health Insurance Marketplaces Are Working to Enroll the Uninsured

As the coronavirus pandemic and economic shutdown continue, the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces are an important tool in covering the uninsured. In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR experts Rachel Schwab, Justin Giovannelli and Kevin Lucia explore how state-based marketplaces have worked to enroll the uninsured during the COVID-19 crisis by creating new opportunities to sign up for coverage and launching outreach campaigns. Continue reading

I’ve been calling for greater private insurance coverage of COVID-19 testing. I’ve been wrong

As the nation combats the biggest threat to its public health and economy that any of us have seen in our lifetimes, the key to recovery will lie in widespread, universally accessible testing for COVID-19. In a recent blog post for Health Affairs, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette argues that our traditional, insurance-based model of financing health care services won’t work if we want to use testing to help us get back to work, schools, and community life. Continue reading

Idaho Misses Opportunities to Help Consumers Get Affordable, Comprehensive Health Coverage During COVID-19 Pandemic

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, states have taken charge of responding to the public health emergency. As a state that runs its own health insurance marketplace, Idaho has tools at its disposal to help consumers enroll in comprehensive coverage. But like the federal marketplace, Idaho decided not to wield all of them, leaving large marketplace enrollment barriers and instead promoting alternative and less comprehensive coverage. Continue reading