Updating the Essential Health Benefit Benchmark Plan: An Unexpected Path to Fill Coverage Gaps?

Many feared that Trump administration rules issued in 2018 would result in less-generous benefits in Affordable Care Act health plans. However, five states have now enhanced their essential health benefit benchmark plans under these rules. In a post for the State Health & Value Strategies program, CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette and Manatt Health’s Joel Ario examine how these states were able to do so. Continue reading

On its 10th Anniversary, during a Public Health Crisis, the Affordable Care Act is More Important Than Ever

The past few weeks have tested the U.S. health care system. In a world where we are all at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, access to health care is a universal human need. On the 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, CHIR takes some time to consider how battling this pandemic would have been even more difficult if it weren’t for this groundbreaking federal law. Continue reading

This Thanksgiving, We’re Thankful for the Affordable Care Act’s Protections

It’s that time of year again. Our team at CHIR is heading far and wide for Thanksgiving, and as we gather around different tables, we’ll be sure to give thanks. One thing on our minds this season is our gratitude for the ongoing insurance protections provided by the Affordable Care Act. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab highlights some of the reforms we’re grateful for. Continue reading

New Resources Arm Advocates with Tools to Defend Essential Health Benefits, Pre-Existing Condition Protections

On July 9, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in Texas v. United States, the court case challenging the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) constitutionality. The litigation is ongoing, but if the plaintiffs prevail, the law could be overturned in its entirety. With the federal court case looming, state policymakers and advocates are looking for ways to preserve access to coverage in the absence of the ACA’s protections, including steps to codify the law’s key provisions into state law. To aid in these efforts, Community Catalyst has teamed up with CHIR experts to create two new guides for its health insurance reform toolkit: The Advocate’s Guide to Pre-Existing Condition Protections and The Advocate’s Guide to Essential Health Benefits. Continue reading

Coming up Short: The Problem with Counting Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance as Coverage

In April, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis of federal legislation to reverse the Trump administration’s rule expanding access to short-term, limited duration insurance policies, which do not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections. CBO estimated that reversing the rule would result in 500,000 people going uninsured, predicated on the assumption that most short-term plans count as “insurance.” For people with preexisting conditions, nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading

Stakeholders React to HHS’s Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2020. Part 2: State Insurance Departments and Marketplaces

On April 18, 2019, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized changes to the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and insurance rules in the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for the 2020 plan year. The agency received over 26,000 comments on the proposal. To gauge stakeholder reactions, CHIR reviewed a sample of these comments. In the second part of our blog series, Rachel Schwab summarizes responses from a selection of state insurance departments and state-based marketplaces. Continue reading

Federal Flexibility Grants Highlight State Priorities for Market Stability

Last month, the Department of Health & Human Services awarded $8.6 million in grants to 30 states and the District of Columbia to provide additional support to implement certain ACA market reforms, including guaranteed issue, guaranteed renewal, and the Essential Health Benefits. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab took a look at how states plan to use the federal funding, and what tops the list of state market stabilization and consumer protection priorities. Continue reading