Stakeholders Respond to the Proposed Health Reimbursement Arrangement Rule. Part I: State Insurance Departments and Marketplaces

In October 2018, the Trump administration proposed rules to expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) by loosening current federal limitations. The administration’s proposal would allow employers to offer employees the tax-advantaged accounts to assist with health care expenses, including premiums, in lieu of employer-sponsored coverage. To understand the potential impact of the proposals, CHIR reviewed comments from various stakeholder groups. For the first blog in our series, Rachel Schwab summarizes comments from state marketplaces and state insurance departments. 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

Affordable Care Act Navigators: Lack of Funding Leads to Consumer Confusion, Decreased Enrollment

Last year, we talked with Navigators to learn about how they reached consumers despite major funding cuts. In light of a number of new policy changes and further funding decreases, CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe checked in with Navigators and assisters from five states on how they fared in this year’s Open Enrollment, and the challenges ahead. 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

Virginia’s Enrollment Season Perfect Storm

Across the country, states are yet again dealing with policy changes just before the fall open enrollment season. Virginia, however, is a special case. The state is dealing with simultaneous implementation of Medicaid expansion, expanded short-term limited duration insurance and association health plans, and changes to the definition of sole proprietors for small employers, all with less funding for the navigator program. CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe breaks down how each change affects Virginians. Continue reading

What’s New for 2019 Marketplace Enrollment? Get Ready for Updated, Improved Navigator Resource Guide

On November 1, the sixth open enrollment period begins for marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act. We at CHIR will soon re-launch our updated Navigator Resource Guide, which provides information on recent policy changes, a list of enrollment tools for consumers and assisters, and answers to hundreds of frequently asked questions. To learn what’s new for 2019, read our CHIRBlog summarizing the major policy changes consumers might encounter this year. Continue reading

Understanding the Market for Short-Term Health Plans: States Prepare to Identify, Oversee Sellers and Products

Last week, the Trump administration issued a final rule reversing federal limits on short-term health coverage, allowing such plans to become a long-term alternative to individual market coverage. On the eve of this policy shift, we surveyed Departments of Insurance in the seventeen state-based marketplace states to better understand their short-term markets. We found that most states do not have a complete picture of which insurers are marketing short-term policies in their state. Continue reading