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.
Key Takeaways from the Revised Graham-Cassidy Proposal and CBO Preliminary Analysis
Deborah Bachrach and Patricia Boozang, Manatt Health
The brief provides an overview of the most recent changes to the Graham-Cassidy repeal and replace proposal and a just-released preliminary analysis of the proposal by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). On September 13th, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA)—along with Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)—released a new proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On September 25th, the sponsors released several updates to the proposed legislation. Also on September 25th, the CBO provided its preliminary analysis of one of the earlier versions of the bill.
The key changes in the revised proposal include: additional short-term assistance for low-density states; coverage under the Market-Based Health Care Grants must now meet additional coverage requirements; instead of obtaining “waivers” from federal law, states have new flexibility to offer coverage that does not meet all federal requirements; and states have discretion to allow rating rules that increase premiums for people with pre-existing conditions.