States Leaning In: Colorado

This year several states have taken an increasingly active role in expanding health insurance coverage, overseeing their insurance markets, and protecting consumers. Perhaps no state did more in 2019 than Colorado, which enacted a dizzying array of health insurance bills. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab takes a look in this installment of States Leaning In. Continue reading

New Reinsurance Toolkit for State Advocates

Last month, North Dakota enacted legislation to establish a state reinsurance program, and a number states are considering similar bills. To help state consumer advocates engage with state officials on reinsurance and other health insurance reform issues, Community Catalyst, with support from CHIR experts, launched a new website that will house a health insurance reform toolkit for advocates. First up: The Advocate’s Guide to Reinsurance. Continue reading

Affordable Care Act Back in the Spotlight: Build on its Progress or Scrap it Entirely?

It is hard to find a starker example of the different approaches our two political parties take to health care than the events of March 26, 2019. CHIR’s Sabrina Corlette breaks down the Trump administration’s push to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional and a comprehensive bill to expand coverage and improve affordability, introduced just hours later by leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives. Continue reading

New Georgetown Report: Assessing the Effectiveness of State-Based Reinsurance

As state legislatures across the country prepare to convene in 2019, improving access to affordable health coverage will likely be on the agenda. Several newly elected officials have expressed an interest in establishing a state reinsurance program, following in the footsteps of a handful of states who have utilized the Affordable Care Act’s 1332 waivers for this purpose. As reinsurance gains ground as a state-level effort to promote market stability, stakeholders can learn from the experience of states that have already implemented reinsurance programs. In a new report from Georgetown, authors Rachel Schwab, Emily Curran, and Sabrina Corlette evaluate progress in the three states that have operational reinsurance programs: Alaska, Minnesota, and Oregon. Continue reading

Federal Flexibility Grants Highlight State Priorities for Market Stability

Last month, the Department of Health & Human Services awarded $8.6 million in grants to 30 states and the District of Columbia to provide additional support to implement certain ACA market reforms, including guaranteed issue, guaranteed renewal, and the Essential Health Benefits. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab took a look at how states plan to use the federal funding, and what tops the list of state market stabilization and consumer protection priorities. Continue reading

To Understand How Consumers Are Faring in the Individual Health Insurance Markets, Watch the States

Through both inaction and design, federal policymakers have put the onus on states to ensure access to affordable, adequate health insurance. In a new work for The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR researchers are launching an interactive map that will track and describe state actions likely to affect residents’ access to individual market coverage. Continue reading

States Leaning In: Washington

Since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, states have embraced the law to varying degrees. While some states have refused to implement the ACA and actively oppose it, other states have leaned in, stepping up to preserve the consumer protections and market rules in the wake of federal actions to weaken the law. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab examines steps that Washington State has taken to ensure that their residents can continue to obtain affordable, high quality coverage, and how other states can do the same. 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

New Report Emphasizes States’ Power to Protect Consumers and Ensure Stable Markets in the Midst of Federal Uncertainty

In the past few months, Congress and the Trump Administration have floated a number of proposals and three-pronged plans, many of which put states in the hot seat of implementing and overseeing major changes to the health care system. In a new report funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Consumer Representatives outline the potential impact of federal proposals, and how state Departments of Insurance can protect consumers and promote market stability through their role as regulators and advisors to state and federal policymakers. Continue reading

At NAIC Spring National Meeting, the Future of the Affordable Care Act Was Front and Center

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners wrapped up its Spring National meeting, and the ACA was on the agenda – but it was definitely a moving target. That’s because the meeting agenda was set before the House of Representatives pulled a bill to repeal and replace the ACA. As a result, the planned discussion over the AHCA had to be adjusted to encompass a broader look at potential administrative, legislative, and market factors that could affect the ACA’s future. CHIR’s JoAnn Volk shares some highlights from the meeting. Continue reading