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Tobacco Use: How Big of a Factor Is It?

A recent article in the Virginia Mercury caught our attention. It seems that Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin supports legislation to eliminate higher premiums for tobacco users in the state. The practice of rating health insurance policies for tobacco use has been a contentious issue in recent years, and Governor Youngkin’s about face on this issue has reignited the debate surrounding this practice.

4 Million Individuals Could Get MLR Rebates This Year

The Kaiser Family Foundation has published two articles recently about the MLR rebates that will be sent out this fall. The first article, from June 1, explains that “insurance companies are expecting to pay out $1 billion in rebates to consumers this fall under” the ACA’s minimum Medical Loss Ratio provision, which requires individual and small group plans to spend 80% of the premium they collect on medical claims and large group plans to spend 85%. If they fall short of these numbers, the excess premium must be returned to their policyholders.

Like Everything Else, Drug Prices Are Increasing

You’ve probably well aware that inflation is the highest it’s been in decades. Some say this was to be expected since we’re coming out of a two-year pandemic. Others point to supply chain issues caused, in part, by Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Others blame the Biden administration’s economic policy. Still others point out the record profits that companies are making and say the price increases are driven by nothing more than corporate profits. Who knows – it could be a combination of all these factors.

Family Glitch Could Soon Be Fixed

On April 5, President Obama returned to the White House for the first time since leaving office. As CBS News reports, the purpose of the visit was to mark the 12-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, a law so closely linked with the former president that it is often referred to as “Obamacare.”

As COVID Numbers Decrease, Uninsured Numbers Increase

After making all the appropriate statements about how awful the restrictions were and about the tragic loss of life, people will be talking for years about the positive things that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic. America—and the world, really—has re-evaluated its priorities and changed the way we think about work. People discovered how to do things remotely. We learned how to Zoom, homeschool children, order groceries, food, and pretty much everything else to be delivered to our door, and even visit the doctor from the comfort of our own home. And the uninsured rate reached record lows.

Record Enrollment in ACA Plans

Back in 2010, shortly after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, there were predictions that 30 million people would gain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. That number was used to convince lawmakers to support the law, to sway public opinion, and to develop multi-year budgets.

Open Enrollment – You’re Not Done Yet!

We just wanted to check in and see how everyone’s doing. From the feedback we’ve received, it sounds like many of you have had a very successful open enrollment period. And the numbers we’ve seen from the individual and Medicare products we offer seem to confirm that.

When can individuals waive group coverage and get a subsidy?

Under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the premium tax credits were increased for individuals at all income levels and the “subsidy cliff” at 400% of the federal poverty level was eliminated through the end of 2022. We discuss how substantial the enhanced premium tax credits are in our June 25 blog post.

Open Enrollment Extended to January 15

You may have heard the rumors, but now it’s official: the open enrollment period in the individual market has been extended to January 15 in states that use the Federally-Facilitated Marketplace ( The new end date was announced by CMS in a September 17th update to the 2022 Notice of Payment and Benefit Parameters.

Dental Insurance in Layman’s Terms

We recently wrote about the expected increase in demand for individual health plans this fall. Millions of workers have lost their group coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so they’ll be shopping for insurance in the individual market.

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