Insurance Brokers and the ACA: Early Barriers and Options for Expanding Their Role (Research Report)
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The Affordable Care Act's drafters envisioned a continuing, significant role for brokers in the reformed nongroup insurance markets, but circumstances limited their active participation in the first year of marketplace enrollment. This analysis delineates the early barriers to brokers' full engagement, highlights the main concerns with their having a more prominent role and offers options for making them more effective in enrolling the uninsured. The information presented in this brief is based upon interviews conducted with stakeholders (e.g., providers, insurers, consumer advocates, navigators, assisters, brokers) in 21 states and the District of Columbia during the first half of 2014.
Marketplace Renewals: State Efforts to Maximize Enrollment into Affordable Health Plan Options (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: February 02, 2015||Publication Date: February 02, 2015|
This report outlines efforts of six state-based insurance marketplaces (California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland, Rhode Island and Washington) to re-enroll consumers into coverage for 2015. The report highlights key changes that consumers need to be aware of, most importantly that 2014 plans may not be the same as those participating in 2015. Due to changes, many consumers could be auto-enrolled in a plan that does not maximize their premium tax credit. Researchers found, however, that some state-based marketplaces have used their flexibility under federal rules to improve consumers' experiences and ensure they get a more accurate determination of premium tax credits.
Federal and State Policy Toward Association Health Plans in Oregon (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: December 02, 2014||Publication Date: December 02, 2014|
Under the ACA, health insurance sold through an Association Health Plan (AHP) to small employers must meet the same insurance standards of coverage sold in the small-group market. However, research indicates that some AHPs are now claiming single large-group health plan status under ERISA, thus sidestepping the ACA requirements for the small-group market. Through interviews with state regulatory officials, health benefit consultants, association representatives and insurers, this paper examines the experience of the AHP market in Oregon. It finds that the AHP market continues to exist for small employers in Oregon and may be positioned for growth.
Implementation of the Affordable Care Act: Cross-Cutting Issues : Six-State Case Study on Network Adequacy (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: October 28, 2014||Publication Date: October 28, 2014|
During the transition to new health insurance marketplaces, insurers revamped their approach to network design, and many now offer narrower provider networks. Researchers assessed network changes and efforts at regulatory oversight in six states. Researchers found that insurers made significant changes to the networks of their individual market plans. Insurers and state officials reported confusion about which plan networks included which providers, but most received few complaints about consumers' ability to obtain in-network services. While half these states have taken action to improve provider directories, it appears unlikely that states will dramatically change network standards, at least in the short-term.
Narrow Provider Networks in New Health Plans: Balancing Affordability with Access to Quality Care (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: September 24, 2014||Publication Date: September 24, 2014|
Consumers choosing health insurance plans inside and outside the new marketplaces may face a tradeoff: narrower provider networks may lower premiums, but they may also limit access to care or increase out-of-pocket costs. This policy brief assesses the benefits and risks of policy options open to federal and state policymakers now reviewing requirements for plans' network adequacy. The authors find that no single policy can achieve the appropriate balance between insurers' flexibility to negotiate with providers and consumers' confidence that plans will deliver on promised benefits. Accordingly, the authors call on policymakers to protect consumers with a combination of regulatory standards, up-to-date information to facilitate consumer choices, and active monitoring of plans' actual performance.
The Launch of Health Reform in Eight States: State Flexibility Is Leading to Very Different Outcomes (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: May 29, 2014||Publication Date: May 29, 2014|
This paper provides a review of a series of papers that examine early implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 8 states. These states – Alabama, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Virginia – have made very different design choices in implementing the law. We examine coverage expansion; financial impacts; the development of information technology systems; outreach, education and enrollment assistance; insurer participation, competition and premiums in marketplaces; insurance market reforms; development of SHOP marketplaces; and issues of provider capacity. We conclude that different design choices made by states will lead to different results. The law will work very differently for residents in different states around the country and there will be different outcomes both in terms of coverage and economic impacts.
The Launch of the Affordable Care Act in Eight States: Reforming Insurance Markets and Protecting Consumers (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: March 05, 2014||Publication Date: March 05, 2014|
States, whether or not they have decided to operate their own health insurance marketplaces, must navigate rapidly changing health insurance markets in which the ACA’s reforms are affecting insurers, businesses, and consumers. Under the ACA, states are primarily responsible for implementing significant insurance reforms that went into effect on January 1, 2014. This paper explores the responses of eight states to the ACA’s new rules and the creation of the new health insurance marketplaces.
Stabilizing Premiums Under the Affordable Care Act: State Efforts to Reduce Adverse Selection (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: March 05, 2014||Publication Date: March 05, 2014|
As a consequence of the ACA's reformed nongroup insurance market, some have raised concerns about short-term "rate shock" — an increase in premiums as a result of enhanced consumer protections and more risk-sharing compared with the pre-reform market – as well as longer-term instability due to adverse selection, the phenomenon by which particular insurance plans or markets attract an enrollment with higher than average health care risks. While the ACA includes strategies intended to mitigate these effects, some states are introducing additional strategies to strengthen the protections. This paper explores policies designed to address these concerns being implemented in 11 states.
Moving to High Quality, Adequate Coverage: State Implementation of New Essential Health Benefits Requirements (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: November 19, 2013||Publication Date: November 01, 2013|
The Affordable Care Act attempts to improve the adequacy of health insurance by establishing a minimum standard for "essential health benefits" (EHB). This paper documents challenges faced by insurance companies and state officials in the development and oversight of new plans that meet the new EHB requirements. We find that most people will see little change in the number of benefits covered by plans, but some will gain benefits, such as maternity care, mental health, and prescription drugs, that have often not been covered. The study also finds that insurers are taking limited advantage of their flexibility to add and subtract benefits through substitution.
The Affordable Care Act: Improving Incentives for Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment (Policy Briefs/Timely Analysis of Health Policy Issues)
|Posted to Web: August 14, 2013||Publication Date: August 14, 2013|
Research evidence of pre-reform job lock and empirical research demonstrating a significant increase in self-employment under health care reforms or availability of Medicare benefits, strongly suggests that self-employment will increase as a consequence of full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Taking into account the most recent findings in the economic literature on this topic, we make a rough estimate that the number of self-employed people will be 1.5 million higher under the ACA than it would otherwise have been. Relative increases in self-employment will vary across states as a function of pre-ACA market reforms already in place.
|Posted to Web: May 31, 2013||Publication Date: May 31, 2013|
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