GRAHAM-CASSIDY REPEAL BILL DEADLINE:

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Roundup: Why most old policies AREN'T being cancelled; 2015 policies posted; Year One report card

Hat Tip To: 
Britt M.

Louise Norris of HealthInsurance.org has posted a couple of fantastic articles the past week or so. First up is an explanation of why most current healthcare policies weren't cancelled...which is to say, the insurance companies cancelled most of them for different reasons than what ACA critics are claiming:

But AV is just one of numerous factors involved in compliance with the ACA. There were many other reasons that existing plans were not compatible with the law. Of particular importance, less than 2 percent of the individual health plans in existence in early 2013 provided coverage for all ten of the ACA’s mandatory essential health benefits.

...So when policies are being cancelled and replaced with ACA-compliant coverage, AV isn’t likely to be the primary culprit. Virtually no individual policies that were in effect prior to 2014 are compliant with the ACA, for a host of reasons other than AV.

ACA-compliant plans will be cancelled? Wrong.

...Over the years, plans have always made small changes to their benefits, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Now, when they need to make modifications to their plan designs, they have a standardized AV calculatorwith which to work. So it will be relatively easy for actuaries to make the adjustments needed to keep their plans compliant with the AV requirements for each metal level. There’s also a provision for alternative methods of calculating AV if a plan’s design isn’t compatible with the standard calculator.

Next up, she also has a roundup of which states have already posted (or plan on posting) their 2015 ACA exchange rates for comparison before the 2015 open enrollment period begins. Until I read this, I was under the impression that only 2 states (Idaho and Maryland) planned on doing this, but now it looks like several others are doing so as well, which is a fantastic development:

Some state-run exchanges, including California, Colorado, Minnesota,Vermont, Maryland, and Idaho, are planning to have 2015 rates on their web sites well in advance of open enrollment so that consumers can start window shopping before November 15.

Finally, as we approach the 1 year anniversary of the (ugly) ACA exchange launch from last October 1st, the Commonwealth Fund Blog has posted an interesting overall "First Year Report Card". Their overall conclusions are below (the letter grades are my own interpretation of these areas):

  • Fully Operational Marketplaces? NEEDS IMPROVEMENT (C-)
  • Are People Enrolling? GOOD TO EXCELLENT (A-)
  • Number of uninsured Americans decreasing? GOOD TO EXCELLENT (B+)
  • Number of underinsured/high OOP costs falling? PENDING (Incomplete)
  • People using their new insurance for medical care? EXTRA CREDIT (B+)
  • Growth in healthcare costs moderating? PENDING (Incomplete)
  • Quality of care improving? PENDING (Incomplete)