The Next Round of Obamacare Regulations are Coming Soon: What Consumer Advocates Want to See

With the annual rule on marketplace operations and health plans expected this fall, we take a look at how consumer advocates responded to the Trump administration’s request earlier this summer on how it could reduce the regulatory burdens of the Affordable Care Act in the last of our three-part series. These comments, along with comments from insurers and state officials, may be used to inform future rulemaking, including the rule expected this fall.
Continue reading

State Options Blog Series: Federal Regulators Relax ACA Health Plan Oversight, Creating Opportunities and Challenges for States

In the second of a multi-part blog series on state options in the wake of federal actions to roll back or relax Affordable Care Act regulation, Sabrina Corlette reviews the new approach to health plan management in the federally run marketplaces. She discusses the implications for consumers and what state insurance regulators may need in order to enhance health plan oversight. Continue reading

Healthcare.gov Rolls out Two Operational Changes Related to Verifying Special Enrollment Periods and Immigration Status

While Congress shifts away from talking about how to replace the Affordable Care Act to stabilizing the individual market, enrollment in ACA marketplaces continues. Recently, the administration made two operational changes affecting federally facilitated marketplaces and states using healthcare.gov: phase 2 of pre-verifying special enrollment eligibility and a process to electronically resolve data matching issues related to immigration status. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn summarizes the changes. Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

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