In the Health Reform Update for this week, the Senate’s failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides the momentum for four scheduled hearings on bipartisan plans to stabilize the ACA Marketplaces. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services takes the opposite approach by slashing next year’s funding for Marketplace advertising, outreach, and enrollment assistance by 72 percent.
All 60 of the counties left without any Marketplace insurers for 2018 have now been filled after a non-profit agrees to serve the last “bare” county in Ohio. However, nearly 1,500 counties (including six entire states) will have only one Marketplace insurer next year (serving roughly 23 percent of all Marketplace enrollees).
Iowa seeks federal approval for a controversial waiver that would allow it to abolish the ACA’s cost-sharing reductions for low-income enrollees and use those savings to increase premium tax credits for higher-income residents.