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

Quality Over Quantity? New Medicaid Network Adequacy Rules Illuminate Disparities Among Insurance Program Standards

Narrow network plans, or plans with a limited network of providers, present problems for consumers across the various coverage programs. In May, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the final rule setting network adequacy standards for Medicaid and CHIP managed care plans. The new rule requires states to set quantitative standards for network adequacy; but since these standards don’t apply uniformly to other federal programs, network adequacy – and access to essential health services – varies greatly for consumers based on what program they fall under. Continue reading

Wisconsin’s Objection to Automatic Re-enrollment of Enrollees in Federally Facilitated Marketplaces

The administration recently issued a proposal to smooth renewals for consumers affected by insurance company exits from the health insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Wisconsin, which has been slow to warm to the ACA, is objecting on grounds that it violates principles of “consumer choice.” CHIR’s Sandy Ahn breaks down Wisconsin’s objection and contends the administration’s proposal not only protects consumer choice, but ensures continuous health insurance coverage for consumers. Continue reading

When Policy Isn’t Put Into Practice: State-Based Marketplaces Fail to Meet Goals of Standardizing Benefit Designs

As the federal insurance marketplace moves forward to standardize health plan benefit designs, what lessons can be learned from the state marketplaces that have had similar policies in place since 2014? A new Georgetown report examines the experiences of four state-based marketplaces and finds they have largely failed to meet their policy goals. Continue reading