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

Impact of Association Health Plans on Consumers and Markets Will Depend on State Approaches

In June, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final regulation that implements President Trump’s executive order encouraging the expansion of association health plans for small businesses and self-employed individuals. Under these rules, professional or trade associations will be permitted to sell health plans that are exempt from many Affordable Care Act protections as early as September 1, 2018. To better understand how these new rules will affect states, CHIR experts interviewed six state regulators. Continue reading

New Report Examines State Options for Oversight of Risk-Bearing Provider Organizations

Value-based payment models are promoted as a way to transform our health care system from one that rewards value rather than the volume of health care services delivered. These models require providers to accept the risk of financial losses should spending on patients in their care exceed targeted levels. A new brief from State Health and Value Strategies, authored by researchers at Bailit Health and CHIR, explores potential state approaches to oversight of provider organizations that accept financial risk. Continue reading

Health Care Sharing Ministries: What Are the Risks to Consumers and Insurance Markets?

Health Care Sharing Ministries (HCSMs) are a form of health coverage in which members – who typically share a religious belief – make monthly payments to cover expenses of other members. HCSMs do not have to comply with the consumer protections of the ACA and may provide value for some individuals, but pose risks for others. We interviewed officials in 13 states and analyzed state laws in all states to better understand state regulators’ perspectives on regulation of HCSMs. Continue reading

State Regulators Keep a Watchful Eye on Healthcare Companies’ Federal Tax Cut “Windfalls”

In December, President Trump signed the Republican tax reform bill into law, which among other things, eliminates the health insurance mandate penalty and reduces the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. The bill provides for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, mostly benefiting high-income earners and corporations, which Republicans hope will stimulate economic growth. Now, a few months into effect health care companies are taking stock of how the tax law benefits their bottom line and how to best invest the savings for future success. CHIR’s Emily Curran looks into how some state regulators are reacting. Continue reading

New Funding Opportunity Allows States to Bolster Consumer Protections

On February 5th, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) put out a Notice of Funding Opportunity. The federal agency anticipates that $8.1 million is available for state initiatives focused on insurers’ compliance with federal market reforms and consumer protections, giving states the opportunity to improve their oversight efforts. With the February 26th deadline for letters of intent just around the corner, CHIR’s Rachel Schwab provides an overview of the new grant program. Continue reading

States Take the Lead with Policies to Protect Residents with Chronic Conditions from High Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs

Lowering the cost of prescription medication has broad support over the political spectrum and there were many campaign promises to reduce prices. But to date, there’s been little federal action. States, however, are taking the lead with policies designed to protect consumers with chronic conditions from high out-of-pocket costs associated with expensive specialty drugs. A new CHIR brief details the findings from a 50-state survey of such policies and observations from supplementary interviews with state regulators, insurance company representatives and consumer advocates. Continue reading