Affordability

State of Play:  For the first time since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented in 2014, there is no federal requirement for people to buy health insurance or pay a penalty, but several states have and are imposing their own mandate to require residents to purchase health insurance. According to CMS, premiums for “silver” ACA plans are lower by an average of 1.5 percent in 2019 after increasing by 37 percent this year. This is the first time average premiums have dropped since the implementation of the federally facilitated exchange.

HLC Position:  HLC believes that all Americans should have access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.  Congress and the administration should bolster the stability of the health insurance marketplace, encourage greater competition, and give all Americans enhanced choice in their coverage by guaranteeing issue of health insurance without preexisting, annual, or lifetime coverage limits but in conjunction with continuous coverage requirements and other critical safeguards against adverse selection.  HLC supports providing consumers with tax credits to help purchase coverage in the individual market and believes the marketplace should utilize decision support tools to educate consumers on new and innovative plan choices.

HLC Recent Activity:

  • In November, HLC shared a blog post with congressional staff encouraging Congress to eliminate the health insurance tax and medical device tax altogether, or at a minimum extend their current suspensions.
  • On November 26, HLC joined 40 organizations on a letter spearheaded by the Better Medicare Alliance in support of extending delay of the health insurance tax through 2020.
  • HLC collaborated with patient advocacy, disability, and research communities, as well as employers and healthcare industry organizations on a multistakeholder letter calling for the permanent repeal of the medical device tax.
  • On October 26, HLC issued a press release on Medicare’s International Pricing Index model for Part B drugs ANPRM.
  • On September 24, HLC wrote the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in support of its hearing on “Healthcare in Rural America: Examining Experiences and Cost.”
  • On July 30, HLC wrote the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee suggesting appropriate ways to reduce health costs.
  • On July 25, HLC, through its blog, promoted a recent Avalere Health study that shows Medicare Advantage (MA) results in healthier patients at less cost.
  • On July 24, HLC wrote Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in support of all the health legislation then being considered on the House floor, including expanded flexibility of health savings accounts (HSAs).
  • On July 18, HLC posted a blog urging the New Mexico federal court to reevaluate its decision eliminating risk adjustment payments that bring stability to the health insurance exchanges.
  • On July 17, HLC signed a letter as part of the Better Medicare Alliance in support of extending delay of the health insurance tax through 2020.
  • On July 13, HLC wrote HHS Secretary Alex Azar responding to the department’s request for information on lowering drug prices and reducing out-of-pocket costs.
  • On July 11, HLC wrote Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) in support of the committee’s efforts to increase use and flexibility of health savings accounts (HSAs).
  • On June 6, HLC wrote the Joint Economic Committee regarding HSAs.
  • HLC updated its “red tape” list of recommendations to relieve regulatory burden. HLC met with HHS to thank the administration for adopting several of the list’s proposals for strengthening the individual insurance market, including promoting continuous coverage, reducing fraud and abuse, and aligning the open enrollment period.   HLC also shared this list with the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate HELP Committee, and members of Congress.
  • During regional advocacy and Capitol Hill meetings, HLC has shared its talking points on market stabilization with congressional offices.