Author Archives: Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at Follow her on Facebook.

Administration proposes a new employee coverage option for businesses

Photo: Rachel via Flickr

HHS has proposed a new rule that would make it easier for employers to help their workers cover medical expenses by using health reimbursement accounts (HRAs).

The proposal would allow employers to subsidize employees who buy their own health insurance either on or off the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. Employers who cover their workers — and that’s been more stable than many expected under the ACA — could give employees up to $1,800 a year (indexed to inflation) to finance HRAs, which are tax-advantaged accounts. That would go toward out-of-pocket costs. Continue reading

New innovation waiver guidance provides more – and less – flexibility for states

Photo: Visit Lakeland via Flickr

The Trump administration has released new guidance that revamps the Affordable Care Act (ACA) state innovation waivers – also known as 1332 waivers – to give states more flexibility to expand access to less expensive non-ACA plans.

One of the biggest changes would be allowing people to use their ACA subsidies to buy insurance outside of ACA markets, including short-term plans or association health plans that don’t meet ACA coverage and patient protection rules. Continue reading

With elections behind us, what to expect for the health reform landscape

Photo: Rob Friesel via Flickr

The midterm election and a divided Congress creates a new health reform agenda for 2019.

Repeal is done – in Congress, at least. A federal judge in Texas is widely expected to roll back at least some Affordable Care Act patient protections.

So what’s next? Continue reading

Trump administration has put its stamp on this year’s open enrollment

Photo: National Eye Institute via Flickr

Open enrollment 2019 has begun, and it will be over before you know it on Dec. 15.

This is the first Affordable Care Act sign-up season conducted entirely by the Trump administration, and it’s the first one without an individual mandate penalty. Continue reading

Better health seen for many ACA markets

Photo: Turtle Mint via Flickr

The 2019 ACA enrollment season is getting off to a stronger start – more health plan participation in the federal exchange, lower premiums – than many had expected.

It still faces enormous stresses, with the elimination of the mandate penalty, and the availability of alternative health coverage options that may undermine the markets. But for now, the news is quite good. Continue reading

How to discover and dissect surprise medical bills

Kaiser Health News and NPR have been collaborating on a series called Bill of the Month. This piece by KHN’s Chad Terhune was one of the most memorable. Like many of these articles, it got results – the story got a ton of attention, outrage was generated and voila, the bill was lowered. It was cited by a bipartisan group of senators who introduced legislation curbing the practice of “surprise billing.”

Continue reading