Massive Navigator Funding Cuts Pose Risks for Consumers, Marketplaces

On September 12, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services released the in-person assistance awards for the 2018-2019 enrollment season. The Administration allotted $10 million to the federally facilitated marketplaces, a more than 80 percent drop in funding over two years. CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe explains the risks the funding cuts pose on consumers and the ACA marketplaces. Continue reading

Enrolling in Health Insurance is Complicated. That’s Where Navigators Can Help.

With the close of Open Enrollment for federally run marketplaces last week, preliminary reports suggest this year’s total sign-ups will be fewer than prior years. The Administration also recently released data that calls into question the value of Navigators, noting that they accounted for less than 1 percent of customers who were signed up by federally funded navigator organizations in 2016. CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe explains how these data fail to tell the whole story. Continue reading

State-Based Marketplaces Push Ahead, Despite Federal Resistance

Open enrollment for 2018 started last week on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces. Along with its executive actions designed to weaken marketplaces operations, the Trump administration has taken a number of steps over the past year to curb marketplace enrollment. While the administration has scaled back efforts to provide health coverage, state-based marketplaces have taken a different approach. In their latest post for The Commonwealth Fund’s To The Point blog, CHIR’s Emily Curran and Justin Giovannelli share their findings from interviews with executives at 15 of the 17 states that operate their own marketplaces. Continue reading

States Work to Preserve Affordable Care Act Progress amidst Federal Disorder

It’s been a bumpy year for state insurance and marketplace officials, thanks to considerable uncertainty over the future of the ACA. CHIR’s Emily Curran highlights recent action suggesting that some states may be poised to reassert their authority over their insurance markets, as they work to maintain the ACA’s coverage gains and keep their markets stable. Continue reading

Healthcare.gov Rolls out Two Operational Changes Related to Verifying Special Enrollment Periods and Immigration Status

While Congress shifts away from talking about how to replace the Affordable Care Act to stabilizing the individual market, enrollment in ACA marketplaces continues. Recently, the administration made two operational changes affecting federally facilitated marketplaces and states using healthcare.gov: phase 2 of pre-verifying special enrollment eligibility and a process to electronically resolve data matching issues related to immigration status. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn summarizes the changes. Continue reading

Relaxing the Affordable Care Act’s Guaranteed Issue Protection: Issues for Consumers and State Options

As we’ve been blogging about, the Trump administration finalized a Market Stabilization rule that makes numerous changes in how marketplaces and insurers are operating. One of the biggest changes affecting consumers is the Trump administration’s new interpretation of guaranteed issue or availability; but states have a range of options regarding this policy under the rule. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn and JoAnn Volk break it down for us. 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