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

Healthcare.gov Rolls out Two Operational Changes Related to Verifying Special Enrollment Periods and Immigration Status

While Congress shifts away from talking about how to replace the Affordable Care Act to stabilizing the individual market, enrollment in ACA marketplaces continues. Recently, the administration made two operational changes affecting federally facilitated marketplaces and states using healthcare.gov: phase 2 of pre-verifying special enrollment eligibility and a process to electronically resolve data matching issues related to immigration status. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn summarizes the changes. Continue reading

New Special Enrollment Roadblocks for Consumers: Hindering, not Helping Consumers Get Coverage

While Congressional leaders debate how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration recently implemented new requirements for consumers seeking a special enrollment period for marketplace coverage. Designed to prevent people from waiting until they are sick before signing up for coverage, some of these new requirements could make it more difficult to enroll; others could reduce consumers’ plan choices. Sandy Ahn summarizes the new policy changes that went into effect last month.
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A Snake in the Grass? Choosing Between COBRA and Other Coverage Options After Leaving Employer Coverage

Leaving a job comes with many challenges, not the least of which is securing new health insurance. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) offers employees continued coverage on their job-based plan, but losing the employer subsidies could cause some to turn to the individual market to find lower premiums. With a Senate bill under consideration that reduces federal subsidies and strips away vital consumer protections, anyone leaving employer coverage will have to make a decision today about joining an insurance market that could look vastly different six months from now. On her last day at Georgetown, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab reflects on options for coverage after leaving a job-based plan. Continue reading

The Ins and Outs of the New Approach to Special Enrollment Periods: Pre-enrollment Verification (SEPV)

Starting June 23, 2017, healthcare.gov will be rolling out a special enrollment period pre-enrollment verification (SEPV) process, which will require new consumers applying for marketplace coverage because of loss of minimum essential coverage (MEC) or permanently moving to prove their eligibility for a special enrollment period. How will this process work and what do consumer assisters need to know? CHIR’s Sandy Ahn provides a summary. Continue reading

Stakeholders React to HHS’ Proposed Market Stabilization Regulations: Part 2 – Consumer Advocates

Last month, the Department of Health & Human Services released proposed rules aimed at stabilizing the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces. After a 20-day comment period, they received close to 4,000 public comments. In the second post in our series on the reactions of health care stakeholders, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab looks at comments from consumer advocacy groups. Continue reading

Risky Business: Health Actuaries Assess the Individual Market and Rates

As the health care debate continues, we face a number of unknowns. Congressional leadership and President Trump vowed to repeal the ACA, but have yet to reach a consensus on the replacement plan. Meanwhile, consumers and insurers are making big decisions about health plans without knowing what the individual market will look like. Predicting the impact of unknown events is no easy task; if you’ve misplaced your crystal ball, the American Academy of Actuaries (AAA) recently released an issue paper on the future of the individual market, lending their expertise to a debate riddled with uncertainty. Continue reading

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: Special Enrollment Periods Provide Essential Coverage During Common Life Transitions, but Many People Don’t Know They Exist

Change in life is unavoidable: people move, get married, change jobs and have babies. Special enrollment periods (SEPs) allow people experiencing such life changes to access marketplace coverage, often with financial assistance. Unfortunately the majority of people don’t know about them. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn takes a look at SEPs, including the administration’s current approach to SEPs and the missed opportunities to raise overall awareness of them, strengthen the risk pool, and reduce the number of uninsured. Continue reading

New Rules on Special Enrollment Periods: What Do They Mean for Consumers and the Assisters Who Help Them?

What triggers a special enrollment period to allow someone to enroll on the individual market outside of open enrollment has been a hot debated topic of late. Recently the administration issued a new rule tightening what life events trigger a special enrollment period. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn summarizes the new rule and what it means for consumers and the assisters that help them. Continue reading