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Churn Burn: Report outlines state strategies to assist with health insurance transitions
Date:1/28/2014

PRINCETON, N.J.A new culture of health care has been ushered in by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) but, for some, it may be even more complicated than some reports suggest. Americans with income fluctuations, such as those with multiple part-time jobs, may experience shifts in coverage, requiring them to "churn" between Medicaid and private insurance, potentially affecting affordability and continuous access to care.

To address these issues, states have been working to implement programs that could reduce the impacts of such transitions. In the most recent issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Princeton University researchers outline some potential programs and the states that have implemented them.

"This is a complicated issue as all states are dealing with different health care landscapes and political realities," said lead author Heather Howard, a lecturer in public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. "The best system will be one that works to ensure continuous access to care and care for those whose income fluctuations cause them to transition between different coverage programs."

With Chad Shearer, a lecturer in public affairs at the Wilson School, Howard explains in the report how these emerging approaches take into account the desire for state flexibility and the political and operational challenges states face in developing coverage expansions that work for consumers, stakeholders and state budgets.

The state options, as outlined in the report, are as follows.

  • State funding to "wrap around" qualified health plans. This plan reduces out-of-pocket expenses for consumers by using state dollars to cover premiums and co-pays for lower-income individuals purchasing qualified health plans. Given state resource constraints, the researchers write, this plan is unlikely in all but a few states that might be willing and able to spend additional dollars
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Contact: B. Rose Huber
brhuber@princeton.edu
609-258-0157
Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
Source:Eurekalert

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