Stepping in When States Don’t Step Up: First “State-Based” Plans Filed in Idaho, Violating the Affordable Care Act

Last week Blue Cross of Idaho filed the first “state-based” health plans, products that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirements for coverage offered on the individual market. When a state can’t or won’t enforce federal law, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is supposed to step in. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab outlines HHS’ authority to protect the rule of law and ensure that Idaho consumers continue to receive the benefits they are promised under the ACA. Continue reading

Risky Business: Health Actuaries Assess the Individual Market and Rates

As the health care debate continues, we face a number of unknowns. Congressional leadership and President Trump vowed to repeal the ACA, but have yet to reach a consensus on the replacement plan. Meanwhile, consumers and insurers are making big decisions about health plans without knowing what the individual market will look like. Predicting the impact of unknown events is no easy task; if you’ve misplaced your crystal ball, the American Academy of Actuaries (AAA) recently released an issue paper on the future of the individual market, lending their expertise to a debate riddled with uncertainty. Continue reading

After a Slow Start, Federal Small Business Health Insurance Marketplace Offers New and Improved Functions

With intense focus on enrollment in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, enrollment through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) has flown under the radar by comparison. In their latest blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, Kevin Lucia, Justin Giovannelli and Sean Miskell discuss early challenges for the SHOP as well as recent improvements. Continue reading

State-Based Marketplaces Offer More Health Plan Choices for 2015 Coverage

One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act is to make health insurance more affordable and accessible, in part by increasing health plan competition. In their latest blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR faculty Sean Miskell, Kevin Lucia and Justin Giovannelli find that competition is in fact increasing, and consumers shopping on the state-based marketplaces have more choices among insurers than they did last year. Continue reading

New Online Resource Provides Answers to Common Health Insurance and Marketplace Questions

This week, CHIR is releasing an online version of the Navigator Resource Guide, with close to 300 searchable FAQs and easy-to-read background information on key health insurance and marketplace issues. Although designed with the needs of Navigators in mind, the Guide is a hands-on, practical resource for anyone who needs to communicate with consumers about the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading

After Halbig: Considerations for States Revisiting the Option to Establish a State-Based Marketplace

A federal appeals court’s ruling that premium subsidies aren’t available for consumers who purchase health coverage through one of the ACA’s federally run insurance marketplaces could have drastic consequences. But policymakers in the 34 states with a federal marketplace have options for protecting their residents. In one of CHIR’s blogs for the Commonwealth Fund, Kevin Lucia and Justin Giovannelli discuss those options here. Continue reading