Graham-Cassidy 2.0: Taking Insurance Protections Out of the Individual Market

Another day, another version of the Graham-Cassidy bill. This new version makes numerous technical changes that continue to place health care for the roughly 90 million consumers who rely on the individual health insurance market or Medicaid at risk. CHIR expert Dania Palanker outlines how the bill could affect access to affordable coverage for women, people with chronic illness, older people, and others. 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assess policies and programs under the ACA that have helped tackle the opioid crisis and what could be lost if they are repealed.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

State Experiences Show Why Repealing the ACA’s Premium Subsidies and Individual Mandate Would Cripple Individual Health Insurance Markets

What will happen if the Affordable Care Act is repealed without a replacement? In their latest article for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts Justin Giovannelli and Kevin Lucia find that it could look a lot like the regulatory landscape that existed in several states that tried to enact health reform in the past. The lessons from those experiences are grim. Continue reading

In the Midst of Federal ACA Woes, States Play an Important Consumer Protection Role

In Washington, our health policy minds are on system overload. Since the election last week, the town is buzzing about the President-elect and new Congress’ promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as one of their first legislative actions. At the same time, they have also pledged allegiance to some of the law’s market reforms. Since most of those reforms are enforced at the state level, a continued state role will be critical to preserving these vital consumer protections. 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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Wisconsin’s Objection to Automatic Re-enrollment of Enrollees in Federally Facilitated Marketplaces

The administration recently issued a proposal to smooth renewals for consumers affected by insurance company exits from the health insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Wisconsin, which has been slow to warm to the ACA, is objecting on grounds that it violates principles of “consumer choice.” CHIR’s Sandy Ahn breaks down Wisconsin’s objection and contends the administration’s proposal not only protects consumer choice, but ensures continuous health insurance coverage for consumers. Continue reading

As Self-Funding Increases in Popularity, Two States Step up to Address Potential Stop-Loss Policy Concerns

In the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s insurance market reforms, policy experts have raised concerns that there could be greater incentives for small businesses to self-fund their health plans. Self-funding can be attractive for some small groups, but also can pose significant risks. In the wake of a white paper from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, two states have stepped up to address concerns. Ashley Williams has the latest. Continue reading

Insurance Premium Surcharges for Smokers May Jeopardize Access to Coverage

While the ACA limits the power of insurance companies to charge higher prices to consumers based on health status and other factors, the law doesn’t stop insurers from imposing a premium surcharge on tobacco users that can raise the cost of coverage by as much as 50 percent. In a new blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR researchers discuss the pros and cons of tobacco rating and examine why some states have chosen to ban the practice. Continue reading