Stabilizing the ACA’s Individual Markets Why State Innovation is Key

May 9, 2018

Prior to full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014, states had taken the leading role in regulating individual health insurance markets. The ACA’s regime of subsidies, penalties, and federal regulations made individual coverage more accessible to those with moderate incomes and those with preexisting medical conditions. Premiums for such coverage, however, doubled between 2013 and 2017, leading to turmoil in individual markets. Both Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sought to grant states more authority to stabilize their markets through a waiver process established by section 1332 of the ACA. These efforts fell short. Congress did not enact significant changes to the ACA, and few states obtained CMS approval for section 1332 waivers to stabilize their markets. This paper offers several recommendations for streamlining and improving that waiver process that would provide states with more tools to stabilize individual markets.

via Stabilizing the ACA’s Individual Markets Why State Innovation is Key by Doug Badger :: SSRN

Tracking Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers

December 14, 2017

Through Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states may apply for innovation waivers to alter key ACA requirements in the individual and small group insurance markets. States can use the flexibility granted by 1332 waiver authority to shore up fragile insurance markets, address unique state insurance market issues, or experiment with alternative models of providing coverage to state residents. With Congressional efforts to repeal and replace the ACA on hold, attention will likely turn to 1332 waivers as states explore ways to address access and affordability issues in their individual and small group markets.

via Tracking Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers | The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Blue Cross to end “grandfathered” health insurance in NC | News & Observer

August 22, 2017

Thousands of North Carolina residents have been exempt from the Affordable Care Act and got to keep their old health insurance, paying significantly less for their coverage than those insured under the ACA.

But that’s about to come to an end for 50,000 customers of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. In 2018, they will have to switch to ACA plans, in some cases paying twice as much or more for health insurance.

Source: Blue Cross to end “grandfathered” health insurance in NC | News & Observer

Subsidizing Health Insurance for Low-Income Adults: Evidence from Massachusetts

June 22, 2017

Subsidizing Health Insurance for Low-Income Adults: Evidence from
Massachusetts. Amy Finkelstein, Nathaniel Hendren, Mark Shepard∗
April 2017.

Abstract: How much are low-income individuals willing to pay for health insurance, and what are the implications for insurance markets? Using administrative data from Massachusetts’ subsidized insurance exchange, we exploit discontinuities in the subsidy schedule to estimate willingness to pay and costs of insurance among low-income adults. As subsidies decline, insurance take-up falls rapidly, dropping about 25% for each $40 increase in monthly enrollee premiums. Marginal enrollees tend to be lower-cost, consistent with adverse selection into insurance. But across the entire distribution we can observe – approximately the bottom 70% of the willingness to pay distribution – enrollee willingness to pay is three to four times below own expected medical costs. As a result, we estimate that take-up will be highly incomplete even with generous subsidies: if enrollee premiums were 25% of insurers’ average costs, at most half of potential enrollees would buy insurance, and even premiums subsidized down to 10% of average costs would still leave at least 20% uninsured. We briefly consider explanations for this finding – which suggests an important role for uncompensated care for the uninsured – and explore normative implications for insurance subsidies for low-income individuals.

Nevada’s Governor Vetoes ‘Medicaid for All’ Insurance Plan – WSJ

June 19, 2017

Nevada’s Republican governor vetoed a bill late Friday that would have created the nation’s first “Medicaid for all” insurance offering, a plan that drew widespread attention as states brace for changes in the federal Affordable Care Act.

The bill would have allowed any state resident to buy into Medicaid, the federal-state program for people with low incomes or disabilities. The idea, which its Democratic sponsor said would have created a guaranteed health coverage option that was affordable, has drawn the interest of other liberal-leaning states as congress works to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act, including the law’s Medicaid expansion.

Source: Nevada’s Governor Vetoes ‘Medicaid for All’ Insurance Plan – WSJ

Massachusetts Governor Hiking Taxes To Rescue Failed Health Reform

January 27, 2017

Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has proposed a tax of $2,000 per worker on businesses which do not offer health coverage to employees who become dependent on Medicaid.

Source: Massachusetts Governor Hiking Taxes To Rescue Failed Health Reform

Massachusetts Governor to Pitch Health-Insurance Penalty for Employers – WSJ

January 25, 2017

The first state in the nation to require residents to carry health insurance is grappling with escalating Medicaid rolls, but a fix floated by Massachusetts’ Republican governor is drawing pushback from employers.

Gov. Charlie Baker will propose in his annual budget on Wednesday a $2,000 penalty per worker on businesses that don’t shoulder enough of the health-insurance cost. The governor is aiming to solve what he sees as a flaw in the national health law: Medicaid ends up being more appealing to low-income workers than insurance offered by employers, raising the costs for the state.

Source: Massachusetts Governor to Pitch Health-Insurance Penalty for Employers – WSJ