With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) ninth open enrollment period (OEP) set to launch in less than a month, the ACA Marketplaces are seeing record enrollment numbers with more generous subsidies, new carrier competition, and a relatively stable rating environment. At the same time, there is uncertainty with the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and medical costs trending upward as the economy recovers, albeit at an uneven pace. These trends have made for a challenging rate review process in the 47 states plus the District of Columbia (D.C.) that conduct their own ACA rate reviews of carrier-proposed rates using federal review standards. State announcements of 2022 rates have trickled out at a slower pace than in prior years, and it is likely that many states will not publish their approved rates until the beginning of open enrollment. As always, state rate results vary widely and, even within states, there often are substantial variations among carriers and across different regions in geographically diverse states. With these caveats, this expert perspective highlights some observations about the factors that are impacting rate changes this year and the kind of variations that exist among states.
Consumer Organization Directory for State Health Insurance Regulators
Sally McCarty and Kayla Connor, Center on Health Insurance Reforms, Georgetown Health Policy Institute
State action to prevent discriminatory benefit designs has been prompted, in part, by vital input from consumer advocacy organizations. Recognizing the important role that they can occupy in this process, the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms sought to gather a directory of these organizations. Georgetown gathered those organizations willing to be made available to states as resources to insurance regulators in need of assistance with identifying discriminatory benefit designs or for other regulatory tasks that require expertise related to a certain disease group or consumer concern. This resource, which resulted from invitations sent to health-related consumer groups that signed the 2014 “We are (Still) Essential” letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell, is intended to serve as a resource for regulators seeking assistance from these groups.