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.
State Health Policy Highlights: Service Integration and Joint Accountability Across State Agencies and Programs
Health status is largely influenced by factors outside the health care delivery system, particularly for low-income populations. State efforts to improve health and reduce health disparities through the lens of medical care alone will miss opportunities for individuals, particularly the most vulnerable and their communities. As more states focus broadly on population health goals, they seek to employ and coordinate a variety of health and other resources on targeted efforts. This State Health Policy Highlight profiles three State Health and Value Strategies (SHVS) issue briefs that provide states with practical approaches to improve individual and population health and create joint accountability across health care and other sectors.