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

New Health Affairs Policy Brief Examines the Regulation of Health Plan Provider Networks

Limited networks have become increasingly common on ACA marketplaces, comprising almost half of all offerings during the first two years of the exchanges. In a new policy brief for Health Affairs, CHIR experts Justin Giovannelli, Kevin Lucia, and Sabrina Corlette examine what the states and the federal government are doing to ensure that marketplace plan networks are adequate and transparent. Continue reading

Kaiser Family Foundation Survey on Assister Programs Reflects Signs of Progress – and Opportunities for Improvement

Assister programs and brokers play an integral role of navigating consumers through the marketplace enrollment process. Kaiser Family Foundation’s recent survey of these stakeholders indicates these programs will continue to be needed given the knowledge gaps that still exist among consumers and the high proportion of consumers who seek help with renewal. Current legal intern and guest blogger, Emma Chapman (Georgetown JD/MPP, expected 2018), summarizes the main findings of the survey. Continue reading