✦ On Oct. 19, CMS released a report that found premiums for plans sold on HealthCare.gov have dropped for the third consecutive year, and insurer participation has increased. The average premium for 2021 benchmark silver plans dropped by 2% year over year, while benchmark plan premiums have dropped by 8% since 2018. In a press release, the agency said Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire and Wyoming will see “double-digit decreases in the average benchmark plan premiums for 27-year-olds.” The report also found that the number of HealthCare.gov enrollees with access to a single insurer has dropped from 29% in 2018 to 4% in 2021. However, premiums have grown substantially since the start of the Trump administration in 2017, with 27% net growth in benchmark premiums for 27-year-olds between that year and 2021. Read more at https://go.cms.gov/3jiOEUB.
✦ The Commonwealth Fund found in an Oct. 15 study that outpatient care visits per week have “fully rebounded” after dropping off earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “In total, weekly visit counts now slightly exceed pre-pandemic levels,” the study found, though “there is considerable variation by patient age, geographic area, clinical specialty, and insurance coverage.” Outpatient care utilization dropped dramatically during the early days of the pandemic: according to the report, the lowest point in utilization was a 58% reduction in visits on March 29. Read more at https://bit.ly/3dNwjh2.