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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Lots of Changes for 2018 Marketplace Enrollment Mean Confusion for Consumers

Open enrollment will be here sooner than we know it. But this year’s open enrollment, will be quite different from previous years due to numerous policy changes and proposed budget cuts to marketplace consumer outreach, assistance, and enrollment system under the Trump administration. These changes will make it much more confusing for consumers and place much more of a burden on the assisters that help them. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn summarizes some of the change in store for 2018 open enrollment. Continue reading

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

Running Down the Clock: Policy Uncertainty over Affordable Care Act Means Less Time for Oversight of Premium Hikes

Insurers are required to submit their health plans and premium rates for regulatory review in the face of considerable uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. In their latest post for The Commonwealth Fund, Sabrina Corlette and Kevin Lucia examine the sources of this uncertainty, how it affects insurers’ ability to plan for the coming year, and what it means for state and federal regulators who must assess the reasonableness of proposed premium hikes. Continue reading

Proposed Pre-Verification Process for Special Enrollment Periods: Policy Goals, Potential Impact, and the need for State Flexibility

In the wake of failed congressional attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, we turn back our focus on the administration and its approach to the marketplaces. The proposed market stabilization rule would require a pre-verification process for special enrollment periods for all marketplaces, including states operating their own. This move is largely in response to insurer concerns, indicating an interest in working with participating marketplace insurers. But how does this fare with states that have their own special enrollment processes? CHIR’s Sandy Ahn takes a look. Continue reading

Stakeholders React to HHS’ Proposed Market Stabilization Regulations: Part 1 – Insurers

In February, the Department of Health & Human Services released proposed rules affecting the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces. In response, they received close to 4,000 public comments. In the first of a series of three posts examining reactions among health care stakeholders, CHIR’s Emily Curran assesses the reaction of insurance companies. 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