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

The Ever-Shrinking Pilot to Inform Consumers About Health Plans’ Network Size

The agency running the federal health insurance marketplace announced on September 30 they would provide information on the size of health plans’ provider networks in just four states “at some point” during the coming open enrollment season. This is a dramatic roll back from the anticipated availability of the system in 34 states in 2017. Sabrina Corlette takes a look at the latest guidance and what it means for consumers. 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

CHIR Expert Sabrina Corlette Talks Marketplace Problems, Possible Solutions at Alliance for Health Reform Briefing

On Monday, September 26th, CHIR’s very own Sabrina Corlette spoke at a briefing on the future of ACA marketplaces put on by the Alliance for Health Reform. Ms. Corlette joined representatives from Anthem, the American Action Forum, and Covered California to discuss the forecast for 2017 and potential policy solutions to expand coverage and access in the individual market. Continue reading