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.
Standardizing Health Plan Benefit Design in the Individual Market: Opportunities and Implications
Eight states require or will require insurers to offer health plans with standardized benefit plans in the individual market, and several more are considering requiring such standardization in the future. On Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. ET, SHVS hosted a webinar on the opportunities for states to implement standardized benefit designs, either through their health insurance marketplace or as part of a public option plan, issues to consider in developing standardized options, communicating with stakeholders, and leveraging standardized designs to improve affordability for enrollees and encourage maintenance of coverage. The webinar reviewed the development of standardized designs through state-based marketplaces, their role in Washington and other states’ public option proposals, operational requirements to improve the end-user experience, and data collection and analysis needs.