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

State Insurance Department Consumer Alerts on Short-Term Plans Come Up Short

Open Enrollment for 2019 has ended in most states, but consumers are sure to be bombarded with sales pitches for alternative insurance products well beyond the December 15th deadline. Short-term plans are often marketed as lower-priced substitutes for ACA-compliant coverage, even though they cover far less. Since the Trump administration lowered federal guardrails on short-term plans, it has become particularly important for state insurance departments to highlight the limitations of these products. CHIR looked at insurance department websites to see what information was available for consumers regarding short-term plans. Continue reading

Affordable Care Act Navigators: Unexpected Success During 2018 Enrollment Season Shouldn’t Obscure Challenges Ahead

Heading into open enrollment for 2018 marketplace coverage, experts predicted far fewer people would sign up for coverage. Despite the obstacles working against a successful open enrollment, sign-ups came close to last year’s tally: federally facilitated marketplaces (FFMs) logged 8.8 million plan selections, including close to 2.5 million new consumers, by the close of open enrollment on December 15th, nearing the 9.2 million plan selection from the previous year in just half the time. CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe and JoAnn Volk take a look at what explains the better-than-expected results. Continue reading

Insurers, State Regulators Avoid Bare Counties in 2018, but Seek Long-Term Solutions

As we near the end of the second week of a so-far successful Open Enrollment, uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act remains a challenge. As insurers and state regulators prepared for the 2018 plan year, they addressed questions of whether Congress or the Trump Administration would make major changes to the law. This led to a situation in several states where some or all counties seemed likely to have no insurance plan available for residents seeking marketplace coverage. In a new issue brief for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHIR experts examine the actions of six states that faced the prospect of bare counties for 2018. 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

Stakeholders React to HHS’ Proposed Market Stabilization Regulations: Part 1 – Insurers

In February, the Department of Health & Human Services released proposed rules affecting the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces. In response, they received close to 4,000 public comments. In the first of a series of three posts examining reactions among health care stakeholders, CHIR’s Emily Curran assesses the reaction of insurance companies. Continue reading

A Busy November Weekend: Launch of OE2 and the NAIC Fall National Meeting

November 15th marks the start not only of open enrollment into the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces, but also of the NAIC’s Fall National Meeting. And many of the same issues on the mind of health insurance consumers are also priorities for state insurance department officials. Sabrina Corlette will be attending the meeting and has this preview. Continue reading

Consumers Should Resist the Urge to Do Nothing and Renew Coverage through the Federal Marketplace

Saturday, November 15th marks the start of open enrollment in the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces. Of the 9.9 million that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects will enroll into 2015 coverage, over 7 million of them are current enrollees who need to have their coverage renewed. In a new issue brief, our Center for Children and Families colleague, Tricia Brooks, outlines what the renewal and eligibility re-determination process is likely to look like for those in the federally facilitated marketplaces. Continue reading

New Online Resource Provides Answers to Common Health Insurance and Marketplace Questions

This week, CHIR is releasing an online version of the Navigator Resource Guide, with close to 300 searchable FAQs and easy-to-read background information on key health insurance and marketplace issues. Although designed with the needs of Navigators in mind, the Guide is a hands-on, practical resource for anyone who needs to communicate with consumers about the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading

New Report on Key Lessons for LGBT Outreach and Enrollment under the Affordable Care Act

Today, Out2Enroll—a nationwide campaign dedicated to connecting LGBT people with their health insurance coverage options—released a new report exploring the extent to which this year’s outreach and enrollment efforts met the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Katie Keith provides an overview of the report’s major findings in this guest post. Continue reading