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State Actions to Improve the Affordability of Health Insurance in the Individual Market

A number of states have taken steps to provide consumers with more affordable coverage options in the individual market, including the marketplaces. Some states are implementing strategies that lower premiums by building on, and increasing the stability of the individual market, while other states are expanding the availability of lower cost coverage sold outside the marketplaces that does not comply with ACA standards—an approach that could increase marketplace premiums further. This brief examines these different approaches and discusses the implications of state policy choices.

Individual Insurance Market Performance in Early 2019

New data from the first three months of 2019 suggest that insurers in the individual market remain profitable, even with average premiums falling for the first time since the ACA was implemented. These data indicate that the individual market appears to be stable so far in 2019, despite the repeal of the individual mandate penalty and the proliferation of loosely-regulated short-term insurance plans.

Among People Ineligible for Subsidies, Middle-Class Older Adults Face the Least Affordable ACA Premiums, Especially Those Living in Rural Areas Where Premiums Are Highest

A new KFF analysis finds that Affordable Care Act marketplace premiums are least affordable for older adults who earn too much to qualify for federal subsidies, especially those living in rural areas where premiums are highest. The analysis of the lowest-cost 2019 ACA marketplace plans across U.S. counties finds that…

How Affordable are 2019 ACA Premiums for Middle-Income People?

This analysis finds that Affordable Care Act marketplace premiums are least affordable for older adults who earn too much to qualify for federal subsidies, especially those living in rural areas where premiums are highest. The analysis also discusses a variety of state and federal proposals that seek to lower premiums for middle-class people buying their own insurance who are ineligible for ACA subsidies.

Testimony: Pre-Existing Conditions and Health Insurance

KFF’s Karen Pollitz testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means on Jan. 29, 2019 examines the prevalence of pre-existing conditions, the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition against medical underwriting and other provisions aimed at stabilizing the insurance risk pool, and the trade-offs involved in relaxing those provisions. 

New Rules for Section 1332 Waivers: Changes and Implications

On October 22, 2018, the Trump administration released new guidance on Section 1332 waivers established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new guidance may encourage states to use 1332 waiver authority to make broader changes to insurance coverage for their residents, including to promote the sale of, and apply subsidies to, ACA non-compliant policies. On November 29, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a discussion paper outlining a set of waiver concepts designed to provide states with a roadmap for developing waiver applications that use the flexibility granted under the new guidance. This issue brief describes the new guidance, highlighting key changes from the 2015 guidance, describes how state waiver activity may change, particularly in light of the waiver concepts put forward by CMS, and discusses possible implications of the changes.