Justin Giovannelli, Kevin Lucia, Sabrina Corlette
J. Giovannelli, K. W. Lucia, and S. Corlette, Implementing the Affordable Care Act: State Action to Reform the Individual Health Insurance Market, The Commonwealth Fund, July 2014.
The Affordable Care Act contains numerous consumer protections designed to remedy shortcomings in the availability, affordability, adequacy, and transparency of individual market insurance. However, because states remain the primary regulators of health insurance and have considerable flexibility over implementation of the law, consumers are likely to experience some of the new protections differently, depending on where they live. This brief explores how federal reforms are shaping standards for individual insurance and examines specific areas in which states have flexibility when implementing the new protections. We find that consumers nationwide will enjoy improved protections in each area targeted by the reforms. Further, some states already have embraced the opportunity to customize their markets by implementing consumer protections that exceed minimum federal requirements. States likely will continue to adjust their market rules as policymakers gain a greater understanding of how reform is working for consumers.