More than a decade after its enactment, the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains uncertain as the U.S. Supreme Court takes up another challenge to the law’s constitutionality in California v. Texas (known as Texas v. U.S. in the lower courts). Oral argument is scheduled for Tuesday, November 10, 2020.

The ACA remains in effect while the litigation is pending. However, if all or most of the law ultimately is struck down, it will have complex and far-reaching consequences for the nation’s health care system, affecting nearly everyone in some way.

For information about ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment, including fact sheets and 300+ FAQs, visit our collection of resources on Understanding Health Insurance.

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Renewals in Medicaid and CHIP: Implementation of Streamlined ACA Policies and the Potential Role of Managed Care Plans

This brief reviews the new renewal requirements for Medicaid and CHIP that are designed to maintain continuity of coverage for eligible individuals. It provides an overview of state implementation of the new renewal policies and considers the potential role managed care plans can play in supporting renewals. Key findings include: some aspects of the simplified renewal policies have not yet been fully implemented due to a range of challenges; some states, including Washington and Rhode Island, have successfully implemented the new policies and achieved high retention rates with more than nine in ten enrollees successfully renewed; and, managed care plans can support renewals by reminding members to renew and providing direct assistance with the renewal process; however, plans identified challenges to supporting renewal.

What a Break in the Obamacare Battles Could Bring

Following the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell decision, the Affordable Care Act could use a break from the intense political heat, though it may not get a long one as the 2016 election season heats up and presidential candidates play to their bases on health care, writes Drew Altman in his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank.

At CMS, the Mission Is Broader Than Medicare and Medicaid

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman discusses whether the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ broad new responsibilities implementing the Affordable Care Act and a more proactive approach to Medicare payment signals that it’s time for (another) name change.

New Analysis Shows States with Medicaid Expansion Experienced Declines in Uninsured Hospital Discharges

Expanded health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is having a major impact on hospital payer mix across the country. Similar to other reports recently released, new data examining hospital discharges in 16 states with data through the second quarter in 2014 show increases in Medicaid and declines in uninsured or self-pay discharges in states that implemented the Medicaid expansion. These trends hold true for all hospital discharges as well as for specific services such as mental health or asthma. This information adds to a growing body of evidence indicating that coverage expansions are affecting providers and may lead to decreases in uncompensated care for the uninsured.

Repayments and Refunds: Estimating the Effects of 2014 Premium Tax Credit Reconciliation

This analysis estimates the range of repayment or refund amounts of the advanced premium tax credits issued to enrollees who experience income volatility between the time of enrollment and tax credit reconciliation. Using a simulation model among all households eligible for advance payments of the premium tax credits under the Affordable Care Act, it estimates that half would owe a repayment while 45 percent would be issued a refund of some or all of premium subsidies received.

Surprise Medical Bills

This brief explores the problem of “surprise medical bills” — charges arising when an insured individual inadvertently receives care from an out-of-network provider. It reviews studies on the extent of the issue, including Kaiser Family Foundation polling data, and outlines state and federal policy responses, including rules and proposed rules for Medicare and plans in Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

Medicare Advantage Hospital Networks: How Much Do They Vary?

This report takes an in-depth look at Medicare Advantage plans’ hospital networks. The analysis draws upon data from 409 Medicare Advantage plans serving beneficiaries in 20 diverse counties that together accounted for about one in seven (14%) Medicare Advantage enrollees nationwide in 2015. The report examines the size and composition of plans’ hospital networks, the variation across counties, the inclusion of Academic Medical Centers and NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, and the relationship between network size and other plan features, including premiums, quality star ratings, per capita Medicare spending, parent organization, and plan tax status.

How has the ACA Medicaid Expansion Affected Providers Serving the Homeless Population: Analysis of Coverage, Revenues, and Costs

To further understand how the first full year of Medicaid expansion has affected patients who are homeless and the providers who care for them, this analysis uses data from the Uniform Data System (UDS) for health centers to examine changes in insurance coverage, revenues and costs among Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) projects serving the homeless population.

Two Substantive Sides to Debate Over Obamacare’s ‘Cadillac Tax’

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman says debate about whether to keep or repeal the Cadillac tax is more than a debate between sound policy and good politics, there are strong substantive arguments on both sides.

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