In the Health Reform Update for this week, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that average premiums for benchmark plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will spike by 34 percent next year due to the loss of the ACA’s individual mandate and allowance for limited-benefit plans.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finalize regulations that will further weaken ACA standards for 2019, including those mandating essential health benefits and ensuring the availability of navigators that help consumers sign-up for ACA Marketplace coverage.
New Jersey becomes the first state legislature to pass an alternative to the individual mandate under the ACA. Maryland enacts legislation authorizing the state to become the fourth with federal approval for a reinsurance program that would help stabilize individual market premiums, while comparable bills continue to receive strong bipartisan support in roughly a dozen other states. Medicaid expansion appears closer to reality in Virginia as key Senators indicate they may support a House-passed plan, while Utah voters will get a chance to decide on Medicaid expansion this fall.
A federal court of appeals strikes down Maryland’s unprecedented law to prohibit price-gouging for essential off-patent or generic drugs.