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Your source for the latest updates from Capitol Hill. We translate policy into practice so you can learn how policy trends will affect your work and how best to prepare.

ACA Expands Coverage for Immigrants, but Enrollment Challenges Remain

October 29, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

When the Affordable Care Act takes effect January 1, many – but not all – immigrant groups will have expanded access to insurance coverage. A new fact sheet from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) details what immigrant families, and their healthcare providers, need to know to enroll in new coverage.

Where do immigrants currently stand when it comes to health coverage?
More than half of non-U.S. citizen adults are uninsured, compared to 17 percent of adult citizens.

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Enrollment in Health Insurance Exchanges Continues; New Resources from Enroll America

October 10, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Enrollment in federal and state health insurance exchanges continued into its second week, with consumers reporting varied experiences on the states’ and federal government’s exchange websites.

Healthcare.gov, the site for the federal and partnership exchanges, noted on its Twitter feed this week that it continues to work around the clock to resolve technical issues that have prevented many people from signing up for an account and using the site to shop for insurance.

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Health Insurance Marketplaces Open for Business as Federal Government Shuts Down

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Today, the state-based health insurance marketplaces began accepting applications for enrollment, even as the federal government shut down amid a political battle over defunding the very law that established them.

The health insurance marketplaces are one of several coverage expansions included in the 2010 Affordable Care Act and are a critical pathway to coverage for uninsured Americans who do not qualify for Medicaid. October 1 is the start of a 6-month open enrollment period during which consumers can sign up for health insurance coverage through the marketplaces.

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Health Reform’s Network Adequacy Standards: New Report, Hill Day Session Announced

August 27, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The extent to which healthcare services are available to millions of Americans purchasing health insurance through state-based marketplaces under health reform will depend in large part on the adequacy of their health plans’ provider networks. A new report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in partnership with the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute sheds light on how states are managing network adequacy issues.

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Get Covered America to Hold National Day of Action September 7; Register for CMS Enrollment Webinars

August 27, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

On September 7, groups around the country will host events as part of Get Covered America’s National Day of Action. Get Covered America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan campaign of Enroll America focused on raising public awareness and engaging consumers about the new health insurance available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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Obama Administration Delays Cap on Out-of-Pocket Costs for Some Insurers

August 22, 2013 | Health Insurance Exchanges | Comments
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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Some consumers will not benefit from the health reform law’s caps on out-of-pocket spending until 2015, according to a policy change made quietly by the Obama Administration in February.

The Affordable Care Act contains a number of provisions designed to protect health insurance consumers from catastrophic costs, including a cap on out-of-pocket expenses. Beginning in 2014, the law limits annual deductibles, copayments, and other types of cost sharing to no more than $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family.

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Making Sense Of Premium Rates In Insurance Marketplaces

Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

One of the biggest questions around the Affordable Care Act’s upcoming coverage expansions is whether the new state-based insurance marketplaces will result in higher or lower premiums for consumers than the options now available to them. Critics of the health law have speculated that the law’s new requirements on insurance products will lead to skyrocketing premiums, while supporters have argued that greater transparency and competition among insurers will lead to big savings for consumers.

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Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 1. Are you ready?

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

October 1, 2013 is the start of open enrollment in health insurance exchanges and the Medicaid expansion. It’s also when many of the consumers that your organization serves will become eligible for one of these new coverage options.

Are you ready? Are they ready?

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CMS Releases Integrity Guidelines for Insurance Exchanges

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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a proposed rule to establish “integrity guidelines” for the online health insurance marketplaces that are to open for enrollment Oct. 1, 2013. These guidelines are meant to safeguard federal funds and to protect consumers by ensuring that plan issuers and the exchanges themselves comply with federal standards related to affordability, quality, and more.

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