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

The Provider Relief Fund: How Well Does it Protect Patients from Surprise Medical Bills for COVID-19 Related Services?

The $175 billion Provider Relief Fund prohibits participating providers from balance billing COVID-19 patients, regardless of their source of coverage. While this could help many patients avoid surprise medical bills, there remain several questions about the scope of protection this will provide. In an update to his April 30, 2020 post, Georgetown expert Jack Hoadley takes a look at the fine print of the program as well as new guidance from HHS. Continue reading

In the Age of COVID-19, Short-Term Plans Fall Short for Consumers

During February’s State of the Union address, President Trump touted his administration’s efforts to expand access to short-term health plans that do not comply with any of the ACA’s consumer protections. Short-term plans are often cheaper than ACA-compliant plans because they can deny coverage to people and exclude entire categories of services. In a recent post supported by The Commonwealth Fund, we reviewed 12 short-term plans to determine what coverage consumers would have if they needed treatment for COVID-19. We found that consumers in short-term plans are likely to have less financial protections than those enrolled in ACA plans. Continue reading