Aggressive Medical Debt Collections: COVID-related Consumer Protections Could be a Model for Long-term Relief

A new investigative report shows that even the COVID-19 crisis has not stopped many hospital systems from using aggressive collections practices to collect on unpaid medical debt. CHIR’s Maanasa Kona takes a deep dive into the problem of medical debt and aggressive collections practices, and how the government can step in to protect consumers. Continue reading

Labor Day in a Pandemic: The Varnish of “Gold Standard” Employer Coverage is Wearing Thin

CHIRblog took a break for Labor Day, but in light of the holiday, we continue to think about problems workers face getting access to affordable health insurance. Employer plans are often touted as the “gold standard” in health insurance. But millions of workers with job-based plans are underinsured, facing high cost sharing and premiums, and the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating problems with inadequate coverage as well as insurance access. Continue reading

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing for Essential Workers: Considerations and Challenges for State Policymakers

States are being forced to decide how to target, administer, and finance asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for essential workers in the midst of a global pandemic and their own budget crises. In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, Kevin Lucia, Sara Rosenbaum, Sabrina Corlette and Madeline O’Brien identify challenges and considerations for state policymakers. Continue reading

As Insurers Sit on Extra Cash, Are Premium Relief and MLR Rebates the Best Use of Funds?

While the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted financial catastrophe across the country, the private health insurance industry appears to be thriving. CHIR researchers Megan Houston and Sabrina Corlette consider whether the traditional use of these extra funds is the best way to spend them and discuss opportunities that states may have to redirect money towards COVID-19 testing. Continue reading

New Report Provides State Policy Recommendations on How to Protect Consumers, Reduce Disparities During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic presents unprecedented threats to health and safety, and exacerbates existing inequities that continue to jeopardize the wellbeing of millions of Americans. To help state policymakers during a time of great upheaval and uncertainty, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Consumer Representatives put together recommendations on access to coverage and care, health equity and racial justice, and other state policy issues. Continue reading

Imposing The Costs Of Workplace Coronavirus Testing On Group Plan Coverage Would Place An Excessive Burden On Essential Workers

To re-open safely, many employers will need to rely on regular testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. But doing so is expensive, and some have called for it to be financed by employers’ health benefit plans. In a new post for the Health Affairs blog, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette joins the Urban Institute’s Linda Blumberg and Michael Simpson in a look at the data. They find that relying on group plan coverage alone would place an excessive burden on workers. Continue reading

One Victim of the COVID-19 Pandemic? State Health Policy

State legislative sessions are typically a flurry of health policy activity. In recent years, state lawmakers have taken action to stabilize their insurance markets and increase access to coverage. But like so many other constants we have come to rely on, state legislative sessions took a hit this year from the novel coronavirus pandemic, putting current and future state policy initiatives in jeopardy. Continue reading

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