HR 5447 – Should employers be allowed to reimburse individual health insurance premiums?

HR 5447 is the Small Business Health Care Relief Act of 2016. It passed the House earlier this month, and is with the Senate now. This bill would allow employers to contribute to their employees’ individual health insurance premiums, up to a maximum of $5,130 for a single employee, or $10,260 if the reimbursement also includes […]

Health Talk at Health Affairs

At Health Affairs Blog, Chris Fleming hosted the Health Wonk Review this week, and it’s an excellent edition. Be sure to check it out if you’re looking for some weekend reading. Here are some of my favorites this time around: Joe Paduda’s summary of Hillary Clinton’s plans to enhance healthcare reform. Anthony Wright’s explanation of California’s […]

2017 Rate Increases for Colorado Individual Health Insurance Market

EDIT, 9/25/2016: Rates were approved recently by the Colorado Division of Insurance. The following average rate changes (actual changes will vary by plan) will take effect January 1, 2017 for the seven carriers that will offer individual market coverage through the exchange. They will also apply off-exchange, as all of these carriers offer their plans both […]

The HWR is bustin’ out all over!

At Health Blawg, David Harlow hosts the Health Wonk Review this week, and it’s a great edition. Earlier this spring, David also started the idea of a video chat “Blab” to discuss each edition of the Health Wonk Review the week after it’s posted. The Blab for this HWR will be on Tuesday, June 7 […]

Should Colorado become a single rating area? DOI conducting study

Earlier this month, Governor Hickenlooper signed HB1336 into law. The law directs the Colorado Division of Insurance to “study the impacts and viability” of merging the whole state of Colorado into a single rating area for health insurance premiums. DOI spokesman Vincent Plymell noted that the DOI was eager to get going on the study. Per […]

An Acronym Salad of Health Wonkery

Tinker Ready hosted last week’s Health Wonk Review at Boston Health News. It’s an excellent edition that runs the gamut of health wonkery, and there’s something for everyone. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already!

Open enrollment for 2017 coverage, and HSA contribution and coverage limits

Open enrollment for 2017 coverage starts on November 1, 2016. The schedule for open enrollment will follow the same November 1 – January 31 dates that were used last year (that schedule will continue to be used for 2018 coverage as well, but it will shorted to just a six week window in November/December for […]

Simple Choice plans in the federally-facilitated exchange

Last month, I wrote about the standardized plans that will be optional for insurers to offer on this fall. I noted that standardized plans do not signal the end of HSA-qualified health insurance, and outlined the basic details surrounding standardized plans. The standardized plan designs that HHS finalized in the 2017 Benefit and Payment Parameters […]

Healthcare reform, six years in

Brad Wright hosted the Health Wonk Review this week at his blog, Wright on Health. There’s something for everyone in this edition, as the topics run the gamut from single payer to carriers’ financial outcomes in the exchange, and from the opioid crisis to end-of-life care. The ACA was signed into law more than six […]

Health News at the Population Health Blog

Jaan Sidorov did an excellent job with the Health Wonk Review this week. Surprisingly enough, none of the entries in this week’s edition have anything to do with the presidential campaign or the candidates’ views on healthcare reform, so Dr. Sidorov dubbed it the “presidential politics-free” edition. There’s lot of good stuff in this round […]

Standardized plans don’t signal the death of HSAs

Is the HSA (health savings account) an endangered species? Yes, if you believe this National Review article. But at InsureBlog, Hank Stern explains why a lot of the National Review’s points are essentially conjecture. I agree with Hank on this one, and there’s more to the story if you read the details in the 2017 Benefit […]

Last week’s HWR, and an upcoming “blab” chat

I’m a bit behind the times here, but Charles Gaba hosted the Health Wonk Review at ACAsignups last week, and there’s plenty of good health wonkery over there for your reading pleasure. In addition, the Health Wonk Review is teaming up with David Harlow – of HealthBlawg fame – to begin hosting a “blab.” This […]

Tales of the Trump

David Williams – who has been blogging for 11 years now – hosted the Health Wonk Review this week, with an excellent “Tales of the Trump” edition. There are plenty of great articles, so be sure to check it out. Here are a couple of my favorites this week: At, Rob Cullen explains how […]

Commission cuts aren’t the same in states with state-run exchanges

EDIT, March 29, 2016: In addition to having state-run exchanges, there’s another factor involved here, which is much more likely to be the correct explanation. California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Kentucky are the four states that have taken regulatory action to prevent health insurance carriers from cutting commissions. Although my initial hypothesis wasn’t bad, direct action […]

Healthcare Reform: The Path Forward

Welcome to the Health Wonk Review! It’s been nearly six years since the ACA was signed into law. And although most aspects of the law have now been implemented, the debate over its merits have not let up. In this election year, healthcare reform continues to be a hot topic, even dividing Democrats in terms […]

Money Changes Everything (and the Broncos won!) Edition of the HWR

At, Steve Anderson did an outstanding job with this week’s Money Changes Everything edition of the Health Wonk Review (although I think we can all agree that it’s actually the “Broncos Won the Super Bowl!!” edition?). There are a ton of great reads from some great health wonks. Here are some of my favorites: […]

Should we eliminate the penalty exemption for a short gap in coverage?

Over the last several weeks, much has been said about the need to tighten up enforcement of the ACA’s special enrollment period eligibility. And CMS has said they will conduct audits this year to ensure that people enrolling through for the remainder of this year have a valid qualifying event. There is concern that people […]

The HWR is ten!

Happy tenth birthday to the Health Wonk Review! We started writing about healthcare reform and related issues here on Colorado Health Insurance Insider in the summer of 2006, and quickly discovered the Health Wonk Review – which was in its infancy at that point. For nearly a decade, it’s been an excellent source of new ideas […]

If you’re facing the subsidy cliff, enroll through Connect for Health Colorado

The Canon City Daily Record published a story this week highlighting how expensive health insurance is in the Colorado mountains, and how few carriers offer coverage in the mountains. Despite the fact that the Division of Insurance combined some rating areas to alleviate the problem ahead of the 2015 open enrollment period, rates for 2016 […]

Health policy insight to kick off 2016

Hank Stern did an excellent job with the first 2016 edition of the Health Wonk Review. Be sure to check it out if you’re looking for some great thinking on health policy. Here are some of my favorites in this edition: Six health care trends to watch in 2016. Excellent Health Affairs article from Susan DeVore […]

Holiday Health – Oh what fun it is!

Julie Ferguson hosted the Holiday Edition of the Health Wonk Review today at Workers’ Comp Insider – don’t miss it! The HWR leads off with a piece in Health Affairs written by several notable ACA opponents. It outlines their alternate vision for reforming healthcare, and is sure to resonate with other ACA opponents. Some aspects […]

Should open enrollment end by December 31 to prevent adverse selection?

A year ago, I wrote a post in which I expressed the opinion that open enrollment should continue into January every year. At that point, the proposed guidelines from HHS had called for the 2016 open enrollment period to end on December 15, 2015 (ie, next week), and I noted that this would mean people […]

It’s beginning to look a lot like… review time!

Peggy Salvatore did an outstanding job with the latest Health Wonk Review – don’t miss her “it’s beginning to look a lot like chaos!” edition. It’s chock full of great articles, so head over and check it out. One thing that stands out to me is that very few of the articles are specific to […]

Thanksgiving Health

Brad Wright hosted the Counting Our Blessings edition of the Health Wonk Review today, and it’s a cornucopia of excellent articles. One of my favorites in this edition comes from Wendell Potter, explaining why Obamacare is not collapsing. And an article from Health Affairs about rising death rates among white women under age 55 is a […]

Spook-tacular Health Wonkery

I’m a few days late in posting this, but in case you missed last week’s Health Wonk Review, be sure to check it out. Jason Shafrin hosted this edition, and he did a great job. Here are some of my favorite articles in this round-up: Charles Gaba explins his projections for round three of open enrollment (pro […]