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.
Messaging to Help Consumers Navigate Skinny Health Plans: A Toolkit for Marketplace Communicators
Recent federal rules on Short-Term Limited-Duration Insurance and Association Health Plans mean that some insurers may now offer products that don’t adhere to previous Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements.
Without the consumer protections guaranteed by the ACA, “skinny” health plans may be offered more widely across the country, with state-by-state variance depending on state law. These plans come with some financial risk to the consumer should he/she need to use their coverage. “Skinny” plans might not provide coverage for essential health benefits, can impose lifetime and annual limits, and they’re not always subject to cost-sharing limits.
As “skinny” plans are increasingly marketed and sold across the country, it’s important for Marketplaces and Departments of Insurance to provide consumers with the information they need to make good decisions when buying health insurance. This toolkit contains a variety of communications resources designed to support Marketplaces, state agencies and other partners in these public education efforts.
- The messaging, fact sheet, blog post and op-ed template resources in this toolkit are customizable: look for [BRACKETS] and insert relevant state information.
- Resources are downloadable from this toolkit: follow the instructions throughout to download materials.