HealthCare.gov provides tools to guide you cost comparisons when you’re choosing a health care plan.
It’s the season to roll up your sleeves, gather your documents, and pick a health insurance plan for 2020. For those shopping for their own plans, HealthCare.gov and the other state exchanges are open for enrollment as of November 1.
Despite the rhetoric about the implosion of the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate going away, and other attempts to hobble the law, the marketplaces are still alive and well. And many people are eligible for subsidies to bring their costs down.
In fact, HealthCare.gov has gotten sleeker and easier to use over the years (after a famously rocky start). There are new bells and whistles to make shopping for a plan easier this year. Still, figuring out how to balance premiums, deductibles and other costs, and choose a plan that will fit your needs for the coming year is hard.
Charlene Wong knows this from experience. Even as a doctor and academic at Duke University who studies how people make health insurance choices, a few years ago, she and her husband picked the wrong plan.
“We spent several days researching plans and called around to make sure the doctors we wanted to see were in network,” she says. Then she got pregnant, and found that while her OB was in network, there was a catch.
“There was a tiered network within that health insurance plan and [my OB] was in Tier 3 of network providers,” she explains. Even though she thought she’d done everything right, she ended up having to switch doctors to keep her costs down.
So take heart — health insurance can be tricky, even for the experts. Here are a few tips to help you find the right plan.
1 – Figure out where and when you need to enroll
Depending where you live, you can either use the federal exchanges on HealthCare.gov or your state’s marketplace to shop for insurance. Twelve states and the District of Columbia run their own exchanges. The federal exchange open enrollment runs until mid-December, but you might have more time if you live in a state that runs its own marketplace.
2 – Review plan options, even if you like your current one
For people who are already enrolled in an ACA plan, Charles Gaba says it’s really important to log in and check if there’s a better value, even if you’re happy with your current plan. Gaba runs the website ACAsignups.net, where he does health care data and policy analysis, focused primarily on the Affordable Care Act.
It can be tempting to skip the whole enrollment rigmarole, especially since you’ll just get rolled into the same plan or a similar plan if you do nothing during open enrollment.
“A lot of people think that because nothing changed in their lives — like, their income is the same, the same household — nothing will change for their policy or their premiums, and that’s just not true,” Gaba says.
Every year, there can be all sorts of changes that affect the kinds of plans available and the costs of those plans. For instance, this year new insurers have entered the marketplace, and premiums have gone down in some states. It’s always worth logging in and checking to see what’s changed for you and whether it makes sense to switch things up.
3 – Compare estimated yearly costs, not just monthly premiums
It’s easy to focus on the monthly premium payment when comparing plans, but Wong at Duke says don’t forget to consider other costs as well.
“A lot of people — we know from past research — become overly focused on the monthly premium and may not pay as much attention to things like the deductible or how much the co-payments are,” Wong says.
The premium price is prominently featured when you’re looking at plans, but look at other costs too. A tool available on HealthCare.gov and some state marketplaces will calculate “estimated total yearly costs” for you. This takes into account the plan’s deductible — how much you have to pay out-of-pocket for covered services before your insurance picks up the tab — and copays, put together with how much health care you expect to use in the coming year.
Wong says that yearly cost estimate can be a really useful tool when picking a plan. “Trying to figure out that math can be a little bit tricky, especially for people who are not as familiar with health insurance.” she says.
4 – Consider how much health care you use
Picking the right insurance plan involves guesswork about how many health issues you’re likely to face in the coming year, which could affect the way costs break down. Your age is usually a useful proxy for this, but there’s always a lot of unknowns, like a surprise cancer diagnosis or a car accident.
Wong points out there are basic tradeoffs to consider. “You might want to think about, ‘Do I pay a little bit more each month in a monthly premium knowing that that would mean less out-of-pocket expenses when and if I do need more medical care?” she says. “Versus — the other way around — ‘Let me pay a lower monthly premium because I don’t really anticipate needing much care, but I know I’d have this health insurance in case something really catastrophic happens.’ “
Alongside these unknowns, leverage what you do know about your health needs. If you have a doctor you like, or if you know you’re going to take a certain prescription drug, look for a plan that covers them. HealthCare.gov allows you to add your provider and your prescription drugs as you browse plans to see whether they’re covered. Another way to find out is simply call your doctors and ask what plans they accept, says Wong.
5 – Beware too-good-to-be-true plans
If you see a good deal online, make sure you’re looking at an ACA plan, warns health policy writer and insurance broker Louise Norris. When you search for health insurance on the internet, you may stumble on short term plans that advertise much lower monthly premiums, but don’t cover the ACA’s famous ten essential benefits. These include some pretty important stuff like prenatal care and mental health treatment.
Sometimes people can find good deals on premiums in the federal and state marketplaces, Norris says, but if one plan sticks out as being too good to be true, read the fine print.
“I did see some new plans popping up in some areas for 2020 where they’ll say $0 deductible,” she says. “Then you scroll down a little bit further and you have maybe $1,000 a day copay for hospitalization.” You hope you won’t spend a lot of time in the hospital, but if you do, that kind of cost could really add up.
Norris points out a new tool this year to help sort out good plans from bad — a star rating, similar to what consumers are used to on Yelp or Amazon (hearkening back to Obama’s original vision). The star ratings are based on information insurers submitted regarding cost, combined with enrollee feedback.
“Star ratings are one of those at-a-glance things where you can kind of see, “OK, how do other customers feel about this plan?’ ” Norris says. Not all plans have them since some are new, she says, but for plans that do, the stars “give you some some red flags if maybe there are some concerns.”
6 – Get free help from the pros
The Trump administration slashed federal funding for advertising open enrollment and the navigator program, but those programs do still exist: There are still people across the country trained and ready to sign people up — for free.
“My best piece of advice for people — particularly those who are less familiar with insurance, is to see if you can get some help,” Wong says. You can call for help, but she recommends trying to meet in person with “a health insurance navigator or a certified application counselor,” she says. “Importantly, these are folks who are impartial to which health insurance plan may be best for you.”
Katie Turner is one of those trained navigators — she’s been signing people up for seven years, and works with the Family Health Care Foundation in the Tampa Bay, Fla., area. Leading up to open enrollment, she’s been busy calling consumers from past years, letting them know that this is the time.
She advises people to assemble all the necessary documents, such as Social Security cards, immigration documentation, tax returns, before going into a meeting with a navigator.
Most of all, she says, don’t miss your chance to sign up for coverage if you need it.
“There is a lot of confusion out there,” Turner says. Many people are confused about what a legal challenge to the law means for the marketplaces (nothing for now), when open enrollment is, and more. “All we can do,” Turner says, “is continue to be here and provide the resources that we’ve been providing for the last seven years to help people enroll in coverage.”
An employee of the website Deadspin shows a logo at their office in Manhattan.
The Washington Post/The Washington Post via Getty Im
The Washington Post/The Washington Post via Getty Im
Deadspin, the brash and rebellious sports website, has had its entire writing and editing personnel resign just days after new management issued a mandate to staff to “stick to sports.”
On Friday, the website’s most well-known writer, Dave McKenna was said to be stepping down, according to a post by former Deadspin Senior Editor Diana Moskovitz.
“This the final Deadspin transaction before relegation. As the last editor left with access to our work systems, I’m promoting Dave McKenna to editor-in-chief of Deadspin,” Moskovitz wrote in a post titled “Transactions, Nov. 1.”
The post continues, “McKenna has graciously agreed to accept his new position until the end of the day (this is his last day). Please note that Dave McKenna was the last [editor in chief] of Deadspin.”
Before the sarcasm-laden post, Moskovitz published a separate entry that was simply titled “Thank You” and notably filed under the tag “BYE.”
“I have gone over the contours of this blog in my mind so many times, and yet I still don’t know what to say,” Moskovitz said.
“So I’ll keep it simple. Thank you to our freelancers, who gave us amazing stories. Thank you to our fellow bloggers at the other sites, for being the best comrades in blog battle that we could ask for. Thank to our sources (you know who you are),” Moskovitz wrote.
She also gave a shout out to Deadspin readers who “made this place special.”
I kept thinking there would be a “good time” to announce this, but that “good time” never came. So here goes: Last week, I gave my two-weeks notice at Deadspin.
— Diana Moskovitz (@DianaMoskovitz) October 29, 2019
Writers and editors began to quit the site en mass on Wednesday and it continued through through Friday. The Washington Post reports “around 20 writers and editors” handed in their resignations this week.
The turmoil this week began Monday, when executives with G/O Media, the parent company of Deadspin and other websites including Gizmodo, The Onion and The Root, sent a directive to the staffers of the sports website to only write on sports and sports-adjacent topics.
That left many writers peeved, because Deadspin had made its mark with its irreverent, and a times piercing commentary on culture, politics and media alongside coverage of the world of athletics.
NPR’s Media Correspondent David Folkenflik broke down broke down the tumult at Deadspin this way on Thursday’s All Things Considered:
“So G/O Media is run by a guy named Jim Spanfeller. He worked at forbes.com and Playboy – promised advertisers, according to writers and the union there, more than they could deliver. He’s claimed that look; 24 out of the top 25 stories last month were purely about sports. A number of recent editors say, hey, that’s flatly untrue; you could get as many as 100,000 readers or more for stories having little to do with sport.
“Spanfeller and others forced out an editor a couple months ago at Deadspin who didn’t want to push a more strictly sports line on writers and, a few days ago, sent out a memo the morning after a post on Trump being booed at the World Series, saying let’s stick to sports. And then they fired their acting editor as well.”
That acting editor who was fired was Barry Petchesky.
In statement sent to the Daily Beast on Tuesday, G/O Media’s editorial director Paul Maidment said Deadspin writers should go for any story “as long as it has something to do with sports.
“However, Maidment added, alluding to the recent firing, ‘We are sorry that some on the Deadspin staff don’t agree with that editorial direction, and refuse to work within that incredibly broad mandate.’ “
A statement about the resignations at Deadspin. pic.twitter.com/NrUmtHzZbq
— GMG Union (@gmgunion) October 30, 2019
By Wednesday, Deadspin staff resignations began. On that same day, GMG Union, which represents Deadspin writers tweeted a statement alleging the actions of Spanfeller were “morally reprehensible” and that he “worked to undermine a successful site.”
The union also claimed the mandate to cover only sports was “a thinly veiled euphemism for ‘don’t speak truth to power.’ ”
With the editorial staff no longer on the Deadspin team, the future of the popular sport and culture site is unknown. But, for many of its former staffers, like one-time editor in chief Megan Greenwell, Deadspin’s legacy is firmly intact.
“And with that, it’s over. Deadspin no longer employs a single writer or editor. I am gutted but so very proud of this group of people. Deadspin was a good website.”
And with that, it’s over. Deadspin no longer employs a single writer or editor. I am gutted but so very proud of this group of people.
Deadspin was a good website.
— Megan Greenwell (@megreenwell) November 1, 2019
In ending his presidential run, Beto O’Rourke said, “Our campaign has been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly and acting decisively in the best interests of America.”
Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke ended his presidential campaign on Friday after struggling to translate the energy from his 2018 Senate bid into a successful White House campaign.
“Our campaign has been about seeing clearly, speaking honestly and acting decisively in the best interests of America,” O’Rourke wrote in a statement on Medium.
“Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully. My service to the country will not be as a candidate or as the nominee. Acknowledging this now is in the best interests of those in the campaign; it is in the best interests of this party as we seek to unify around a nominee; and it is in the best interests of the country.”
Edward Norton plays detective Lionel Essrog in Motherless Brooklyn, a movie he also directed and wrote.
Glen Wilson/Warner Bros. Pictures
Glen Wilson/Warner Bros. Pictures
Edward Norton’s new movie Motherless Brooklyn is the first he wrote, directed and stars in.
A noir detective film set in 1950s New York, the film sees Norton playing Lionel, a private eye with Tourette’s syndrome. He twitches and blurts out words — as is typical of Tourette’s. He’s also brilliant, with an incredible memory.
Long in the making, Motherless Brooklyn is based on Jonathan Lethem’s 1999 novel of the same name, set in the ’90s. But Norton shifted his movie to the ’50s, in part to explore a long-standing fascination with the powerful city planner Robert Moses, and the behind-the-scenes work Moses did to reshape New York City: “the dark, the shadow narrative of how modern New York really got built — the racism that was sort of baked into the city,” Norton says in an interview.
Norton even invented Alec Baldwin’s character, Moses Randolph, to stand in for Robert Moses.
“And it seemed like suddenly to me that … if we went to the ’50s, Lionel could be a really terrific vehicle for going deep into the murk of what happened in New York in that time,” Norton says.
On playing a character with Tourette’s syndrome in the 1950s, who refers to himself as “spastic”
Yeah, not a word you hear today. … In institutional settings, I think that’s how they referred to people who had either palsies or things like Tourette’s, where they twitched. Tourette’s syndrome … many dimensions of it are fascinating; the whole thing is fascinating. It’s not a mental illness at all; it’s a neurological disorder. Lionel does not have a mental disorder. He’s not limited … he’s brilliant and sensitive and actually, in his own way, a street-hardened Brooklyn tough guy of an era when people weren’t taking care of each other — when American values had shifted from sort of pre-war Depression-era commitment to the idea that American life was about lifting each other up, to a kind of post-war, we’re-now-the-superpower obsession with strength. And what happened to the city, one could argue — it’s why I thought Jonathan [Lethem’s] title Motherless Brooklyn was wonderful — is: There was a lack of care. The brutal push for modernization and progress was prioritized over communities for people. And there was a lot of cost. There was a lot of pain and damage done that we’re still dealing with.
On featuring Wynton Marsalis (and his music) in a jazz club scene in the movie
That’s a composition that was [originally recorded by] Clifford Brown and Max Roach called “Blues Walk” that was a staple of that hard-bop era in the ’50s, because the story takes us into this very atmospheric jazz club in north Harlem. And so we wanted to have this band, and Wynton, incredibly, assembled a group of musicians — really great musicians, veterans like Joe Farnsworth on the drums.
Interestingly, I had a whole chapter of, in my college life, of — you know, my “go-to” to try to create a seductive mood when I was in college was to put on Wynton Marsalis, Standard Time Vol. : Intimacy Calling. And it had this picture of Wynton in a hat, with his feet up, and his horn in his hand, and I had a long period where I imagined that I might be perceived that way if I turned the lights down low enough. So … I told him when I met him, I said, “You know, you were my ‘go-to,’ and you never came through for me, not once. You are not the closer.” … Now he’s paid off his debt by doing this film with me.
On the assertion that New York was deliberately building bridges too low to restrict mass transit buses from easily accessing public beaches
Yeah. Yeah, it’s actually documented, in not only Robert Caro’s book about Robert Moses called The Power Broker, but I think it’s referenced in the [Ric] Burns [documentary] series New York. You know, the assumption was that minorities didn’t own as many cars, and that when the new parkways were built to these grand public beaches to help people escape the rat race and inspire the mind, right — there was all this language that made people go, “Wow, these are great gifts to the public, brought by selfless public servants” — but then with great intention, they limited the access to those public assets.
On if the Robert Moses surrogate character was inspired by Donald Trump
No. I think, fairly emphatically, no, in the sense that I finished writing this in 2012. … Donald Trump was a game-show host. I would say President Trump is a game-show host also — it’s just a more damaging game that he’s playing. …
The thing is that the character that Alec [Baldwin] plays is a genius. He masks his power to the degree that everybody thinks he’s the parks commissioner. I was much less interested in what I would call clownish Mussolini-like autocracy, and more interested in the idea that the much bigger danger is when people amass power that we didn’t give them — and we can’t see it. That actually is the way noir, at its best, tends to function — as a mechanism for saying: We’re going to look at what’s going on in the shadows under American life. When we’re not looking at what’s going on, we’re in real, real danger.
Lauren Hodges and Mallory Yu produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Patrick Jarenwattananon adapted it for the Web.
Nestlé USA is announcing a voluntary recall for some of its ready-to-bake refrigerated cookie dough products.
Sacramento Bee/Tribune News Service via Getty I
Sacramento Bee/Tribune News Service via Getty I
Nestlé, the maker of cereals, coffee, ice cream and delicious treats, announced some not-to-sweet news: The company is recalling some of its signature ready-to-bake Toll House Cookie Dough products “due to the potential presence of food-grade rubber pieces,” according to a company press release.
Nestlé USA says the recall is voluntary and only impacts products distributed throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
The 26 recalled products include, bars, tubs and “chubs” — the packages shaped like tubes — and include Holiday Chocolate Chip Tree Sprinkle, Ultimate Chocolate Chip Lovers, Pinch of Grinch Cookie Dough and Monster Munch varieties.
“This recall is limited only to ready-to-bake refrigerated products below, with batch codes that begin with 9189 through batch codes that begin with 9295,” Nestlé USA said.
The company adds that the four-digit batch code can be found after the “use or freeze by” date and following the number 5753 on the packaging. A full list of impacted batches can be found here.
Nestlé said it has not received any reports of consumers falling ill or becoming injured.
Nestlé USA advises those who have purchased products on the its list of potentially contaminated packages “should not prepare or consume them but should instead discard the product.”
The company adds that it’s working with the Food and Drug Administration on the matter.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks to reporters in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday, after releasing her plan to pay for single-payer health care.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Sen. Elizabeth Warren says paying for “Medicare for All” would require $20.5 trillion in new federal spending over a decade. That spending includes higher taxes on the wealthy, but no new taxes on the middle class.
The Democratic presidential candidate released her plan to pay for Medicare for All on Friday, after being dogged for months by questions of how she would finance such a sweeping overhaul of the healthcare system. That pressure has been intensified by the fact that Warren has made detailed proposals a central part of her brand as a candidate.
Medicare for All is a single-payer healthcare proposal introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders and cosponsored by multiple candidates in the presidential race, including Warren. It would virtually eliminate private insurance, including employer-sponsored coverage.
It also represents a political risk, as multiple polls show that introducing a public option for health insurance coverage is more popular than a Medicare for All plan that almost entirely does away with private insurance.
Here’s a look at what Warren has laid out to provide single-payer health care, including proposals to cut costs, where new revenue would come from, where funds would not be taken from and what comes next.
How Warren wants to reduce spending
Warren bases her plan off of a recent analysis from the Urban Institute, which estimated that under current law, Americans would spend $52 trillion over the next decade on healthcare — that includes many different types of spending, from employers, individuals, and all levels of government.
In that analysis, the Urban Institute calculated that under a single-payer plan that looks a lot like Medicare for All, costs would total $59 trillion over a decade, which would require $34 trillion in new federal spending.
Warren’s plan estimates that total health costs could be held to $52 trillion, and that $20.5 trillion in new federal spending would be necessary.
Like Urban, Warren’s plan assumes that Medicare for All would pay doctors what Medicare pays them right now. It would also pay hospitals 110 percent of what Medicare pays right now — slightly less than Urban’s 115 percent assumption.
This question — what to pay hospitals and doctors — is a big part of what determines how much Medicare for All would cost. That’s because Medicare pays doctors and hospitals much less than private insurance.
“This plan aggressively constrains the price of health care, paying doctors, hospitals, and drug companies much less,” said Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “There would be a lot of adjustment required from from hospitals and doctors as their incomes go down.”
Just how seismic such a shift would be would depend in part on how fast the transition is, he added.
“I think how quickly she proposes to transition to this new system will be really important because it would be very disruptive to the health care system,” Levitt said. “You know, a quick transition would be hard and potentially result in shortages or increased wait times for health care.”
Sanders calls for a four-year transition to Medicare for All — a pace that Levitt characterized as “quite quick.” In a Friday blog post spelling out her proposal, Warren said that she plans to unveil her transition plan “in the weeks ahead.”
A letter from economists supporting the plan, provided by Warren’s team, argued that these payment rates would work in part because doctors and hospitals would save substantially on administrative costs. Warren’s team also says there would be ways to ensure that vulnerable hospitals, like those in rural areas, would get paid more, so they could stay in business.
Her proposal also establishes savings by projecting that Medicare for All could substantially slow medical cost growth. Warren also stipulates that state and local governments would redirect more than $6 trillion they currently spend on Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to the federal government.
Where money would not come from
One thing that’s notable about this plan is where the revenue doesn’t come from. Warren had promised at a recent debate that she would not sign a bill that raises healthcare costs for the middle class.
This plan goes further: Middle class Americans would no longer pay health premiums or copays, and would also not pay new taxes to replace those costs. They would, however, pay taxes on whatever additional take-home pay they would receive from this plan. That would add $1.4 trillion in revenue, her team estimates.
This is a departure from Bernie Sanders’ ideas about how to fund Medicare for All. One of his options is a 4% tax on families earning more than $29,000. At Democrats’ October debate, he explained that taxes would go up for many Americans under his plan.
“At the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of people will save money on their health care bills. But I do think it is appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up,” he said. “They’re going to go up significantly for the wealthy. And for virtually everybody, the tax increase they pay will be substantially less — substantially less than what they were paying for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.”
Where the $20.5 trillion comes from
Employers are one of the main sources of revenue in this proposal. Warren says she would raise nearly $9 trillion here, a figure that comes from the roughly $9 trillion private employers are projected to spend over the next decade on health insurance. The idea here is that instead of contributing to employees’ health insurance, employers would pay virtually all of that money to the government.
In addition, she will boost her proposed 3% wealth tax on people with over a billion dollars to 6%, and also boost taxes on large corporations. Altogether, she believes, taxes on the rich and on corporations would raise an estimated $6 trillion. An additional $2.3 trillion would come from improving tax enforcement.
But there are lingering questions about how much revenue some of these taxes would bring in, or how easy it would be to impose a wealth tax in particular.
“Something like half of the wealth of the wealthiest people in America are held in privately held corporations, privately held businesses,” said Howard Gleckman, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. “And it’s really hard to value those assets for tax purposes.”
Warren also includes comprehensive immigration reform as part of her plan. Giving more people a path to citizenship would mean more taxpayers, which would mean more tax revenue.
While Medicare for All is Sen. Sanders’ plan, his bill does not include set methods to pay for the plan. Rather, Sanders has included “options” to pay for his healthcare plan. In a recent interview with CNBC, he said “we’ll have that debate” over how exactly to finance the plan.
As the candidate with “a plan for that,” as one of her slogans goes, Warren has been asked repeatedly if her healthcare overhaul plan would raise taxes on the middle class. Warren repeatedly said in response that she would not raise costs for the middle class.
This proposal gives Warren an answer for the next time she is asked how she would pay for Medicare for All, and it means she can say that she wouldn’t impose new taxes on middle class Americans.
But it also gives her opponents potential new fodder for attacks. Biden has already come out swinging, accusing Warren of fuzzy math.
“To accomplish this sleight of hand, her proposal dramatically understates its cost, overstates its savings, inflates the revenue, and pretends that an employer payroll tax increase is something else,” said Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield in a statement released Friday.
Department of Homeland official Chad Wolf speaks during a meeting earlier this month in Washington, D.C. President Trump is set to pick wolf to lead DHS in an acting capacity.
The White House will name Chad Wolf as acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, according to three sources briefed on the decision. Wolf is a top DHS official currently serving as the department’s undersecretary.
The move was first reported by Politico. The White House has declined to comment.
President Trump announced earlier this month that acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was leaving his post.
As NPR’s Franco Ordoñez reported, that set off a wave of jockeying as various factions inside the White House pushed for candidates who support their agendas.
“Wolf is an extremely qualified DHS leader, highly respected, well-versed in the policies and inner workings of the department, its vast mission and issue sets. He remains the best viable option to advance the president’s priorities. An all around excellent pick,” a senior DHS Official told NPR.
Wolf would seem to be a less controversial choice than others, in that he has not publicly espoused the hard-line views on immigration that the acting head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli has, for instance.
Wolf has served as former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s chief of staff. He was nominated to be under secretary for the DHS office of Strategy, Policy and Plans last February. According to his DHS biography, he’s also served as chief of staff for the Transportation Security Administration during the Trump administration.
Wolf would be the fifth person to lead the department since Trump took office.
NPR’s Franco Ordonez and Roberta Rampton contributed to this story.