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

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

Shopping Tips for 2018 Open Enrollment

What’s a marketplace consumer to think in this crazy-mixed up year for the Affordable Care Act? Federal policy uncertainty has led to some downright weird and counterintuitive premiums for marketplace plans. And smart shoppers can find some incredible deals. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn shares her shopping tips for this year’s open enrollment season. 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

Got Questions on Private Health Insurance? Get the New and Improved Navigator Resource Guide

Marketplace enrollment is upon us. November 1 marks the start to the fifth open enrollment season. To help marketplace Navigators and others assisting consumers with marketplace eligibility and enrollment, we at CHIR have updated and improved our Navigator Resource Guide. The Guide houses over 300 frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers about all things marketplace coverage-related, as well as information about employer-sponsored coverage. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn highlights some of the changes. Continue reading

In the Aftermath of a Natural Disaster and Have Questions about your Health Insurance Coverage? CHIR Experts Answer Some Frequently Asked Questions

In the wake of devastating natural disasters, consumers living in hurricane or wildfire affected areas may have questions about their marketplace health insurance. As marketplace open enrollment for 2018 coverage begins in less than a month, CHIR experts have put together answers to questions that consumers may be asking particularly around how these natural disasters affect their ability to sign up for or re-enroll into marketplace coverage. Continue reading

ACA “Bare Counties”: Policy Options to Ensure Access Must Address Longer-Term Stability and Competition

September 27th marks the day most insurers have to formally decide whether they’ll stay in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces in 2018. While the danger of bare counties seems to have subsided, many more counties appear likely to have just one insurer offering marketplace coverage. In their latest blog post for the Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts look at the policy options for ensuring access and competition. Continue reading