Shopping for a Short-Term Plan? The Information You Get about it Will Depend on Your State

Stakeholders have expressed mixed views on the value of short-term limited duration insurance. However, most seem to agree that, at a minimum, consumers should know what they are purchasing. States have the authority to require insurers to provide disclosures in addition to the federal minimum standard. We looked at short-term disclosures in four states – Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Washington – and found that a wide spectrum exists regarding the amount of detail states require their insurers to disclose. Continue reading

Stakeholders Respond to the Proposed Health Reimbursement Arrangement Rule. Part 2: Insurers

In October, the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services issued a proposed rule that aims to expand the “flexibility and use” of health reimbursement arrangements. To understand reactions to the proposal, CHIR reviewed a sample of comments from state officials, insurers, consumer advocates, and employer, broker and benefit advisor groups. In Part 2 of this blog series, we highlight comments from ten major medical insurers and associations, who argued that stronger non-discrimination provisions are needed to prevent adverse selection and ensure stability in the individual market. Continue reading

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