The Congressional Budget Office Definition of “Health Insurance” Leaves Room for Wide Coverage Gaps, Discrimination

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) frequently estimates how policy proposals will affect rates of health insurance coverage. To make these assessments, the agency relies on a definition including coverage that can discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and fail to cover key health services like prescription drugs, practices that are outlawed in the individual health insurance market under the ACA. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a look at the CBO’s current definition of health insurance, and the impact it has on health insurance reform efforts. Continue reading

In the Age of COVID-19, Short-Term Plans Fall Short for Consumers

During February’s State of the Union address, President Trump touted his administration’s efforts to expand access to short-term health plans that do not comply with any of the ACA’s consumer protections. Short-term plans are often cheaper than ACA-compliant plans because they can deny coverage to people and exclude entire categories of services. In a recent post supported by The Commonwealth Fund, we reviewed 12 short-term plans to determine what coverage consumers would have if they needed treatment for COVID-19. We found that consumers in short-term plans are likely to have less financial protections than those enrolled in ACA plans. Continue reading

A Placeholder Won’t Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions

President Donald Trump has voiced an “ironclad pledge” to protect patients with pre-existing conditions, but his 2021 budget proposal, which repeats this promise, is silent on how he would do that. At the same time, the Trump administration has taken numerous actions that undermine the Affordable Care Act, including its support of a lawsuit to overturn the ACA and its key protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Continue reading

House Hearings Shed Light on a Key Policy Priority: Protecting People with Pre-Existing Conditions

After becoming a rallying cry in the midterm elections, pre-existing condition protections have taken center stage on Capitol Hill: in January and February, the House of Representatives held three hearings about protecting people with pre-existing conditions, before the Ways & Means Committee, the Education & Labor Committee, and the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee. As the ACA faces legal challenges in federal court, these proceedings set the scene for how this policy debate will play out in Congress and offer insight into potential legislative action. Continue reading

Coverage That (Doesn’t) Count: How the Short-Term, Limited Duration Rule Could Lead to Underinsurance

Any day now, the Trump administration is expected to publish new rules that will expand access to short-term, limited duration insurance (STLDI). These plans are allowed to discriminate against sick people, exclude coverage of essential health services, and impose lifetime and annual benefit limits. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that the majority of plans expanded under this rule will be considered health insurance. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a closer look at how CBO defines health insurance, and explains how the expansion of STLDI could lead to widespread underinsurance. Continue reading

A Mother’s Day Gift Basket from Congress and the Trump Administration

This Mother’s Day, both Congress and the Trump administration have put together a special gift basket of policies that continue to threaten access to health care for women, mothers, and families everywhere. From federal funding cuts to weaker benefit requirements, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab and Dania Palanker unwrap the presents and assess their potential impact on coverage. Continue reading

Cancellation of Policies in the Individual Market: Apology Accepted, Mr. President – No Further Action Required

Last Thursday, the President apologized to those individuals currently covered under an individual policy and who will need to transition to a new policy that complies with the 2014 requirements under the Affordable Care Act. In his latest blog, David Cusano notes that this result was a necessary and predictable one, and encourages Americans to accept the President’s apology and move forward by promoting and implementing the protections under the ACA. Continue reading