New Special Enrollment Roadblocks for Consumers: Hindering, not Helping Consumers Get Coverage

While Congressional leaders debate how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration recently implemented new requirements for consumers seeking a special enrollment period for marketplace coverage. Designed to prevent people from waiting until they are sick before signing up for coverage, some of these new requirements could make it more difficult to enroll; others could reduce consumers’ plan choices. Sandy Ahn summarizes the new policy changes that went into effect last month.
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New “Halbig Provision” in Health Plan Agreements Poses Little Threat to Consumers

Insurers that sell coverage through the ACA’s federally facilitated marketplaces must sign a privacy and security agreement with the federal government. New language gives insurers greater flexibility to end that agreement if premium tax credits cease to be available to marketplace enrollees. Justin Giovannelli explores the significance of this development for consumers. Continue reading

State Restrictions on Health Reform Assisters May Violate Federal Law

Regulations issued last month by the Department of Health and Human Services show that laws in more than a dozen states may be invalid because they go too far in restricting the work of consumer assistance personnel certified under the Affordable Care Act. In a blog post published by The Commonwealth Fund, Justin Giovannelli, Kevin Lucia, and Sabrina Corlette discuss these new rules and how they affect state efforts to regulate consumer assisters. Continue reading

Federal Court Ruling Casts Doubt on State Power to Restrict Health Reform Navigators

In January, a federal court in Missouri became the first to rule on whether states have the legal authority to restrict the work of the Affordable Care Act’s consumer assistance “navigators.” In a new post for The Commonwealth Fund, Justin Giovannelli, Kevin Lucia, and Sabrina Corlette discuss the decision and explore its significance for Missouri and the other states that have adopted restrictions on navigators and consumer assisters. Continue reading

Cancellation of Policies in the Individual Market: Apology Accepted, Mr. President – No Further Action Required

Last Thursday, the President apologized to those individuals currently covered under an individual policy and who will need to transition to a new policy that complies with the 2014 requirements under the Affordable Care Act. In his latest blog, David Cusano notes that this result was a necessary and predictable one, and encourages Americans to accept the President’s apology and move forward by promoting and implementing the protections under the ACA. Continue reading

Helping Consumers Understand their Coverage Options, from Coast to Coast

A massive consumer outreach and education effort is underway to help consumers understand their new coverage options under the Affordable Care Act. But obstacles remain, particularly in states with federally facilitated marketplaces. In the second of a two-part series of blogs for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR faculty members Sarah Dash, Kevin Lucia, and Justin Giovannelli examined the range of outreach efforts across the states. Continue reading

New Report on ACA Implications for State Network Adequacy Standards

The Affordable Care Act promises consumers a more comprehensive set of health insurance benefits, but whether consumers are able to access those benefits depends in part on whether states adhere to or build upon the law’s network adequacy standards. CHIR researchers recently released a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded report evaluating current federal and state efforts to regulate plan networks. Max Farris provides an overview. Continue reading