Press Release

RELEASE — Community health insurance associations warn of risks to vulnerable consumers, individual coverage under HHS NBPP proposal

Washington (March 2, 2020) – The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) and the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) urge the Department of Health and Human Services to maintain current access to critical health care subsidies for people who take advantage of the automatic re-enrollment feature of  health care exchanges.

ACHP and ACAP strongly encourage the Administration to retain the current policy of automatic re-enrollment in an existing Exchange plan with an individual’s existing premium subsidy when finalizing the HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021. The Administration’s suggested modifications to auto re-enroll individuals without advance subsidies would increase the burden on low-income and vulnerable consumers, result in fewer consumers being able to afford coverage and create added instability in the individual market.

“Auto-reenrollment allows satisfied consumers to maintain their current plan without the hassle of re-enrolling. But consistency and predictability of health care – and subsidies that might come with it – are critical to affordability,” said Ceci Connolly, President and CEO of ACHP.  “Despite ongoing instability in the Exchange market, our member health organizations have stayed the course and remain fully committed to providing high-quality, affordable coverage and care to families nationwide. Continued uncertainty about the survival of the ACA disrupts the market, impacts prices and makes it more difficult to provide the long-term health coverage that Americans deserve.”

“Automatic re-enrollment is a common practice in not just private individual and group health insurance, but also Medicare Advantage. Once consumers find a plan they like, they tend not to make changes,” said Margaret A. Murray, CEO of ACAP. “The policy discussed by CMS would sow significant confusion, and lead to loss of coverage unless consumers take counterintuitive steps. This proposal has a disproportionate impact on low-income consumers. What’s most disquieting is that that seems to be the point.”

Re-enrolling individuals in plans with unaffordable premiums would cause considerable confusion for vulnerable consumers. Further, it will likely require low-income individuals to take on financial obligations for their health coverage even when they remain eligible for continued subsidies. There is also a significant risk that this proposed policy would discourage consumers from selecting any plan, lead to an increase in the number of uninsured, and add more instability to an already volatile market.

ACHP’s comments on the proposed rule can be found here.

ACAP’s comments on the proposed rule can be found here.

About ACHP

The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) represents the nation’s top-performing non-profit health plans to improve affordability and outcomes in the health care system. ACHP member companies are provider-aligned health organizations that provide high-quality coverage and care to tens of millions of Americans. They are leading the industry in practical, proven reforms around primary care delivery, value-based payment and data-driven systems improvement.

ACHP advocates on behalf of its members and a unique approach to health care today, one that puts the patient at the center with health plans and clinical teams collaborating to improve health outcomes and reduce costs. Our advocacy focuses on providing policymakers with tested solutions being realized in communities nationwide and rooted in a model that is proven to deliver better value for patients, employers and taxpayers. Learn more at the ACHP website and follow us on Twitter for the latest health insights.

About ACAP

ACAP represents 74 health plans which collectively provide health coverage to more than 20 million people. Safety Net Health Plans serve their members through Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the Marketplace and other publicly-sponsored health programs. For more information, visit www.communityplans.net.