Health Plan Restrictions on Contraceptive Coverage: It’s like asking people to “renew their seat belt each month”

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has lowered financial barriers to birth control by requiring health plans to cover contraceptives at no cost sharing, but restrictions limit the availability and affordability of certain methods. While we’ve come a long way in ensuring access to this essential service, one hundred years after Margaret Sanger opened the first Planned Parenthood clinic in Brooklyn, nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Addressing the unmet need for contraceptives and enabling women to maintain consistent and accurate drug use is a public health issue that affects insurers, consumers, and providers. Continue reading

The Affordable Care Act: Efforts to Address Barriers to Health Equity

Disparities in health insurance coverage and accessing health care continue to be a challenge in the United States. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made impressive strides to reduce overall health disparity by ensuring that health equity exists with health insurance coverage and accessing care. Current CHIR intern and guest blogger, Julia Embry, summarizes some of the ACA’s progress to address health equity in the United States. 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

Increasing Deductibles in Employer Coverage: A Story Over a Decade in the Making

A graph has been making the rounds on the internet comparing cumulative increases in deductibles since 2011 to growth in inflation, worker earnings and health insurance premiums since it was posted as part of a Wall Street Journal blog. But the graph only tells part of the story – the part that occurred after 2011. The story of increasing deductibles in employer based health insurance is a story that is over a decade in the making.

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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

Open Enrollment IV (OE4) is Just around the Corner: Things to Watch

While it seems like we just finished open enrollment, the next round for 2017 coverage is right around the corner. For open enrollment IV, officials will be implementing new policy changes in an effort to ensure not just a better shopping experience, but also to minimize disruptions of coverage and financial assistance. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn and Sabrina Corlette summarize some of the 2017 changes for FFMs below. Continue reading

New Rules on Special Enrollment Periods: What Do They Mean for Consumers and the Assisters Who Help Them?

What triggers a special enrollment period to allow someone to enroll on the individual market outside of open enrollment has been a hot debated topic of late. Recently the administration issued a new rule tightening what life events trigger a special enrollment period. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn summarizes the new rule and what it means for consumers and the assisters that help them. Continue reading

Telemedicine: Another Tool in the Toolkit to Meet Network Adequacy Standards?

Health plans have been increasingly narrowing their provider networks, raising concerns about gaps in access to services for consumers, particularly in areas with provider shortages. Could telemedicine be used to help fill those gaps? CHIR authors say not yet and summarizes key findings from a new report published in partnership with the Urban Institute and with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Continue reading