In the Midst of Federal ACA Woes, States Play an Important Consumer Protection Role

In Washington, our health policy minds are on system overload. Since the election last week, the town is buzzing about the President-elect and new Congress’ promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as one of their first legislative actions. At the same time, they have also pledged allegiance to some of the law’s market reforms. Since most of those reforms are enforced at the state level, a continued state role will be critical to preserving these vital consumer protections. Continue reading

State-Run SHOPs: An Update Three Years Post ACA Implementation

Small-business owners face unique challenges covering their employees; to lower barriers and increase options, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) created the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). In a new blog published by The Commonwealth Fund, CHIR experts Emily Curran, Sabrina Corlette, and Kevin Lucia evaluate the current state of these marketplaces three years into implementation. Continue reading

Balance Billing for Air Ambulance Remains a Problem in Maryland

Although Maryland is among the handful of states that regulate balance billing for out-of-network situations, as we discuss in a previous report, the state’s law does not address air ambulance charges. Balance billing for air ambulances remain a problem in Maryland and its insurance department held a public meeting last Friday to discuss the issue. CHIR’s Sandy Ahn provides highlights of the meeting and other state efforts to address this consumer problem. Continue reading

New Report Finds that, Under the ACA, Consumers Nationwide Are Experiencing Improved Protections in the Individual Insurance Market

The ACA includes numerous consumer protections designed to remedy shortcomings in the availability, affordability, adequacy, and transparency of individual market insurance. However, because states continue to be the primary regulators of health insurance and implementers of these requirements, consumers are likely to experience some of these new protections differently, depending on where they live. CHIR’s latest issue brief finds that consumers nationwide will enjoy improved protections in each area targeted by the reforms. Continue reading

Arming Navigators for the Millions of Enrollees Headed Their Way

With the fast approach to open enrollment for the new health insurance marketplaces, there is growing interest in navigators and other assisters who will help people learn about their coverage options and get enrolled. JoAnn Volk explains how CHIR will be adding to the private insurance knowledge and support for navigators and assisters with a quick reference guide on private health insurance and the reforms of the ACA. Continue reading

Evolving Dynamics of Health Insurance Exchange Implementation

Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the roles of states and the federal government in establishing health insurance exchanges—marketplaces where people can shop for comprehensive and affordable health plans—have evolved considerably. In a post that originally appeared on The Commonwealth Fund Blog, Sarah Dash, Christine Monahan, and Kevin Lucia describe where exchange establishment decisions currently stand. Continue reading

Florida’s Changes to Rate Review: Heading Backward?

Of the many consumer protection tools available to health insurance regulators, one of the most powerful is the ability to review premium rates. Yet, some states have made recent decisions to abdicate this authority to federal regulators. Sally McCarty discusses recently enacted legislation in Florida that suspends the state’s rate review requirements – and what it means for insurers, regulators, and consumers. Continue reading