Insurers Are Wary, but States Say Standard Exchange Plans Work

In their public comments about a proposed rule that would bring back standardized plans to the Affordable Care Act exchanges, two health insurer trade groups make it clear that they believe such a move will “stifle innovation” in plan design. However, state-based marketplaces that already require plan standardization appear to have found a way to make that policy work for consumers and insurers alike, sources tell AIS Health.

“I’m not aware of anything to suggest that innovation — however one might define that — has been hampered to the detriment of consumers in the states where we see this policy in place,” says Justin Giovannelli, an associate research professor at Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms. Giovannelli co-authored a July 2021 piece for The Commonwealth Fund examining various states’ ACA plan standardization requirements.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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