Promising Steps to Strengthen Marketplace Risk Pools Could be in Vain, if Affordable Care Act is Repealed

While critics have been describing the demise of the marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act, the Obama Administration has been taking steps to strengthen the risk pool and to ensure its long-term sustainability. These promising steps are now at risk under the threat of repeal with nothing to replace approach that Congressional leaders and the new administration seem to be taking. At risk and in jeopardy is the coverage of millions of people. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn takes a look. Continue reading

States That Leaned In on the Affordable Care Act Have Much to Lose

In the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s passage, 17 states embraced the chance to set up and manage their own marketplace and design an insurance market to meet local needs. In their latest article for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts Sabrina Corlette, Emily Curran and Kevin Lucia review these states’ progress on expanding coverage and stabilizing their markets and find that they have much to lose if the law is repealed. Continue reading

Busting the “Falling under its Own Weight” Myth: New Analysis Shows Better Outlook for the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces

It’s a new year, and with it comes new hope for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) exchanges. Wall Street analysts recently released research that shows improvements in insurers’ finances for 2016, predicting even better margins for future years. But just as the markets are starting to stabilize, the incoming Congress and Administration are threatening to undo them. Continue reading

Tick Tock: An Unforgiving Calendar for Health Plans Makes Orderly “Transition” for Affordable Care Act Repeal Unlikely

The incoming Congress and Administration have pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act but hope to minimize disruption by providing for a transition period. However, insurers must make key decisions about health plans and pricing far in advance of bringing those plans to market. In an ongoing series of articles for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts Sabrina Corlette and Kevin Lucia partner with Julie Andrews of Wakely Consulting Group to examine how the uncertainty created by Congressional action could result in far fewer plan choices and significantly higher premiums for consumers. Continue reading

How Could a New Administration Tackle Affordable Care Act Challenges? Look to Medicare

The next President and Congress will likely need to consider policy options to help stabilize the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplaces. But the challenges in those markets are not unique – Medicare Advantage markets have faced similar turmoil. In this blog post for Health Affairs, Sabrina Corlette and Jack Hoadley review the Bush administration’s policy responses to market instability in Medicare – and the lessons those policies hold for the ACA. Continue reading

New Marketplace Research: Off-Marketplace Consumers and How Marketplace Enrollees Fare in Expansion and Nonexpansion States

Two new studies captured our attention recently. One, from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services examines enrollment in coverage inside and outside the health insurance marketplaces. The other, from Urban Institute researchers, examines different enrollment experiences between Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states. The Center for Children & Families’ Karina Wagnerman takes a closer look. Continue reading

New and Improved Navigator Resource Guide

There’s a national election approaching but it isn’t for President. In just one week, consumers can vote for a new health plan on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces. To help them through that process, CHIR is proud to re-launch the Navigator Resource Guide, a searchable, online resource for close to 300 frequently asked questions about private health insurance and the marketplaces. Continue reading

Enrollees Aren’t Abusing Marketplace Grace Period

Insurers and other critics have called on the Obama Administration to shorten the 3-month grace period for paying overdue health plan premiums, asserting that consumers are abusing it. But as documented by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Tara Straw, such concerns reflect a misunderstanding of how grace periods work and are refuted by enrollment and disenrollment data. Continue reading

Low-Income Households and ACA Tax Policies: Benefit from Tax Credits but Paying the Penalty

We are well into the third tax year of ACA premium tax credits and the individual shared responsibility requirement. The IRS recently released a report on 2014 income tax filings that includes data on the first year of the PTC and ISRP. We analyzed this data to look at the tax credits and payments by income brackets and found that millions of low-income tax filers benefited from the PTC in 2014 – but millions of low-income tax filers also paid the ISRP, indicating that a very vulnerable population still lacks coverage. Continue reading