COVID-19 Response: States That Run Their Own ACA Marketplace Are Better Positioned to Help Consumers Get Covered

During the current public health and financial crises brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces offer a crucial safety net. States that run their own marketplaces have a significant advantage in helping consumers obtain comprehensive, affordable health insurance. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab looks at some opportunities for state-based marketplaces that don’t exist for states relying on the federal marketplace. Continue reading

Seeing Fraud and Misleading Marketing, States Warn Consumers About Alternative Health Insurance Products

States are warning consumers of fraud and about the inadequate nature of some insurance products being sold that masquerade as health coverage. Over the last year, we identified alerts or press releases issued by 15 states warning consumers to be on their guard against deceptive marketing pitches for these products. In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To The Point blog, CHIR experts spoke with regulators in five of these states to better understand what was behind these warnings and get insight into potential pitfalls for consumers. Continue reading

ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment Numbers Reveal the Impact of State-Level Policy and Operational Choices on Performance

During the last open enrollment period, the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces faced a number of headwinds, including federal policy changes predicted to curb enrollment. Given myriad obstacles to enrollment efforts, it came as no surprise that overall marketplace plan selections dropped slightly this year. But a deeper dive into enrollment trends reveals that most state-based marketplaces outperformed the federally facilitated marketplace. In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab and Sabrina Corlette unpack data from the recent open enrollment period to see how the marketplaces performed during a turbulent time, finding that certain policy and operational decisions were associated with better results. Continue reading

Shopping for a Short-Term Plan? The Information You Get about it Will Depend on Your State

Stakeholders have expressed mixed views on the value of short-term limited duration insurance. However, most seem to agree that, at a minimum, consumers should know what they are purchasing. States have the authority to require insurers to provide disclosures in addition to the federal minimum standard. We looked at short-term disclosures in four states – Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Washington – and found that a wide spectrum exists regarding the amount of detail states require their insurers to disclose. Continue reading

Short-Term Health Plans Sold Through Out-of-State Associations Threaten Consumer Protections

The expansion of short-term policies has raised concerns that they may be deceptively marketed, with some sellers leading consumers to believe they are buying a comprehensive policy when they are not. While twenty-four states have sought to regulate short-term plans, their efforts may be undermined by a loophole that allows the policies to be sold through out-of-state associations – a practice we found to be quite common. Continue reading