Reading the Fine Print: Do ACA Replacement Proposals Give States More Flexibility and Authority?

State leaders have been heartened by statements from the new President and Congressional leaders that ACA replacement plans will give them more autonomy over their health insurance markets. But is that really true? In a post for the Health Affairs blog, CHIR experts Sabrina Corlette and Kevin Lucia examine the fine print of House and Senate replacement plans and find that they broadly preempt state authority. Continue reading

Repealing The ACA Could Worsen The Opioid Epidemic

As our country grapples with an “unprecedented opioid epidemic,” Congress is taking steps to take away an important tool to fight it — the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a post for the Health Affairs blog, CHIR expert Dania Palanker and Urban Institute researchers Lisa Clemans-Cope and Jane Wishner assess policies and programs under the ACA that have helped tackle the opioid crisis and what could be lost if they are repealed. Continue reading

Promising Steps to Strengthen Marketplace Risk Pools Could be in Vain, if Affordable Care Act is Repealed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

Twelve Days of Coverage

Despite the gloom and doom surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), when we look back at what the ACA has achieved, there is cause to celebrate this holiday season. Six years after President Barack Obama signed the ACA into law, we have the lowest uninsured rate and record enrollment numbers on Healthcare.Gov, showing just how much people need and want comprehensive health insurance. As we hum along to our favorite holiday hits, CHIR has composed a new carol to pay homage to the monumental health care law that has led to unprecedented coverage and consumer protections. Happy holidays! Continue reading

The Final Countdown for 2017 Coverage Underway in the Shadows of Affordable Care Act Repeal

Extended to December 19, 2016, consumers have four more days to enroll in an Affordable Care Act marketplace plan that starts January 1, 2017. With an incoming Congress and President-Elect promising to repeal the health care law, consumers may have questions about what will happen to their coverage or why they should bother to enroll. Before the sun sets on this year’s open enrollment season, we’ve answered a couple of common consumer questions. Continue reading

From Acne to EcZema: The Return of Medical Underwriting Puts Millions at Risk for Losing Coverage or Higher Premiums

Medical underwriting, outlawed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a practice used by insurance companies to assess a consumer’s health status. In the event of an ACA repeal, millions of people could lose coverage, pay higher premiums, or receive inadequate benefits that exclude essential health services, all based on a pre-existing condition. While many of us don’t see ourselves as falling under that category, the list of health conditions that qualify you for the chopping block may surprise you. Continue reading

A Lot to Lose: What’s on the Line for Women if the Affordable Care Act is Repealed

It’s the holiday season, but rather than visions of sugar plums dancing above our heads, we have visions of mammogram machines, birth control, doctor offices, and medical bills. Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), women faced numerous barriers obtaining affordable health care. After years of insurance industry practices like gender rating and pre-existing condition exclusions, the ACA ushered in a new era for women’s health, eliminating those discriminatory and unfair insurance practices from the insurance market. Continue reading

Though the ACA Faces Tough Critics, Millions are Having an Easier Time Paying Medical Bills

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has extended insurance coverage to 22 million people, but the law’s critics often point to the high out-of-pocket costs in some of the ACA’s marketplace health plans. And while many people do face high deductibles and cost-sharing for health care services, a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that dramatically fewer people are struggling to pay medical bills, compared to what they faced before the ACA. 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