READ THE FINE PRINT: A New Provision in BCBS of Mississippi Plan Could Mean Huge Unexpected Costs for Plan Enrollees

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi has included a new provision in its plan description that could mean huge costs for plan participants. The new policy does not cover prescription drugs prescribed by out-of-network providers. How does this policy square with the ACA? And what does it mean for consumers? Elissa Dines discusses. Continue reading

New Resource for Assisters Covers Private Insurance and Marketplace Plans

Almost two months into open enrollment, Navigators and other consumer assisters must field a multitude of questions about plan options inside the marketplace and out, how individual and employer-sponsored coverage may change as a result of the ACA, and whether consumers have the coverage they need to satisfy the individual mandate. Today, CHIR released a Navigator Resource Guide that helps Navigators explain key insurance and marketplace concepts and accurately answer a wide range of questions. Continue reading

New Report Evaluates States’ Strategies to Stabilize Health Insurance Premiums and Build Sustainable Exchanges

The Affordable Care Act includes a range of health insurance reforms that will lead to health care costs being shared more evenly between the healthy and the sick. Some experts have pointed to concerns that in the short term, there will be premium “rate shock” for some individuals, while in the long term, exchanges will be vulnerable to adverse selection if they attract a disproportionate number of older, sicker enrollees. Under the ACA, states have considerable flexibility to implement additional strategies to manage their markets and protect consumers. In collaboration with researchers at the Urban Institute, CHIR faculty members Sabrina Corlette and Sarah Dash examine states’ strategies to make premiums more affordable and protect the exchanges from potential adverse selection. Continue reading

Health Insurance Exchanges Fulfill Both Liberal and Conservative Goals

Amid the controversial launch of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces, it is not easy to envision that liberals and conservatives might find common ground. However, Brookings scholar Henry J. Aaron and CHIR expert Kevin Lucia make a persuasive case in this blog, originally posted on the Harvard Business Review, that these marketplaces hold the key ingredients for both sides to achieve their objectives. Continue reading

Marketplace IT Glitches: The Sky Is Not Falling

The new health insurance marketplaces open for business today. In a blog originally posted on The Commonwealth Fund blog, Kevin Lucia, Sabrina Corlette and Sarah Dash remind us that while the marketplaces, like all start-ups, are likely to experience some early glitches, for the millions who have been shut out of coverage because of a pre-existing condition or an inability to afford insurance, we are entering a new era of consumer-focused health insurance. Continue reading

Navigators Should Not Let Politics Thwart Their Important Work

In yet another attempt in a very long line of efforts to delay or derail the health care law, members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee demanded that organizations awarded federal navigator grants answer multiple detailed questions and produce reams of paper documents about their grants. Our colleague at Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families, Tricia Brooks, takes a look at what’s driving the debate over consumer assistance and the ACA. Continue reading