Relaxing the Affordable Care Act’s Guaranteed Issue Protection: Issues for Consumers and State Options

As we’ve been blogging about, the Trump administration finalized a Market Stabilization rule that makes numerous changes in how marketplaces and insurers are operating. One of the biggest changes affecting consumers is the Trump administration’s new interpretation of guaranteed issue or availability; but states have a range of options regarding this policy under the rule. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn and JoAnn Volk break it down for us. 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

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

Simple Choice Plans Debut on Healthcare.Gov

Simple Choice plans, standardized benefit designs with fixed cost-sharing amounts and pre-deductible services, are new this year on Healthcare.gov. These types of plans can help consumers make “apples-to-apples” comparisons, but the the availability of such plans depends on insurer participation and local markets. Emily Curran and others here at CHIR take a look at the availability of Simple Choice plans on Healthcare.gov and find it’s a mixed bag. Continue reading

The Affordable Care Act: Efforts to Address Barriers to Health Equity

Disparities in health insurance coverage and accessing health care continue to be a challenge in the United States. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made impressive strides to reduce overall health disparity by ensuring that health equity exists with health insurance coverage and accessing care. Current CHIR intern and guest blogger, Julia Embry, summarizes some of the ACA’s progress to address health equity in the United States. Continue reading

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: Special Enrollment Periods Provide Essential Coverage During Common Life Transitions, but Many People Don’t Know They Exist

Change in life is unavoidable: people move, get married, change jobs and have babies. Special enrollment periods (SEPs) allow people experiencing such life changes to access marketplace coverage, often with financial assistance. Unfortunately the majority of people don’t know about them. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn takes a look at SEPs, including the administration’s current approach to SEPs and the missed opportunities to raise overall awareness of them, strengthen the risk pool, and reduce the number of uninsured. Continue reading

Increasing Deductibles in Employer Coverage: A Story Over a Decade in the Making

A graph has been making the rounds on the internet comparing cumulative increases in deductibles since 2011 to growth in inflation, worker earnings and health insurance premiums since it was posted as part of a Wall Street Journal blog. But the graph only tells part of the story – the part that occurred after 2011. The story of increasing deductibles in employer based health insurance is a story that is over a decade in the making.

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State-Run SHOPs: An Update Three Years Post ACA Implementation

Small-business owners face unique challenges covering their employees; to lower barriers and increase options, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) created the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). In a new blog published by The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts Emily Curran, Sabrina Corlette, and Kevin Lucia evaluate the current state of these marketplaces three years into implementation. Continue reading