The success of the Affordable Care Act’s first enrollment period is clear: More than 8 million people have signed up for health insurance coverage through the health insurance marketplaces since last October. Among different racial and ethnic groups, however, increases in health insurance coverage varied widely. African and Asian Americans enrolled at relatively high rates, while Hispanic enrollment was lower. The results from the first enrollment period tell us that minority enrollment is on the upswing, but there is more work to do.
Recently media outlets have reported that the government is having trouble verifying the income information of as many as 2 million people enrolled in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. As a result, they say, consumers may be getting the wrong level of tax subsidy to help them pay monthly premiums. Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have characterized these discrepancies in income data as yet another flaw in the new health law.
New Survey Finds That Most Consumers Oppose Penalties in Employee Health Insurance Wellness Programs
Earlier today, the Kaiser Family Foundation released findings from a new survey on consumer sentiment around the role of employee wellness programs. The poll found that, while 76 percent of the public supports employers offering wellness programs that promote healthy behaviors, the majority of consumers (75 percent) are opposed to employers charging higher premiums if workers don’t meet the health goals of their workplace wellness program.
Nearly every day, you encounter hardworking people engaged in a job that you rely on—a daycare aide who cares for your child, a cashier who rings up your coffee, or a carpenter working in your neighborhood. But if you live in a state that hasn’t expanded Medicaid, there is a good chance that many of these people—even though they are employed—do not have health insurance.
We recently examined data from the 24 states that have not expanded Medicaid to determine how many of those residents who could benefit from expanded health coverage are working—and which types of jobs they hold.
As the 2014 college graduation season draws to a close, young adults are saying goodbye to their alma maters and entering the working world. Many face the challenge of securing their first full-time job at a time when the economy is uncertain and jobs are scarce. The vast majority of recent graduates—racial and ethnic minorities in particular—start their working lives under the shadow of significant educational debt. As if that weren’t enough, many of these former students also face losing the health insurance that they purchased through their college or university.
It is important that recent graduates understand that the Affordable Care Act gives young adults affordable options for securing coverage—including access to the financial help available through the health insurance marketplace.
Reference Pricing Programs Need to Follow Key Guidelines to Ensure That They Don’t Shift Costs to Consumers
Recent news articles have highlighted how some employer-based health plans have started to set dollar caps on what they will pay for certain health care services. If a consumer goes to a provider that charges more than the cap for that type of care, he or she must pay the difference. This strategy is called reference pricing.
Reference pricing is meant to encourage consumers to shop for the best care at the best price, and it even has the potential to pressure some expensive providers to set more competitive prices.
Quality, Not Size: How to Ensure Health Insurance Marketplace Plans Have Adequate Provider Networks for Consumers
For many years prior to the Affordable Care Act, we’ve encountered stories from consumers who have trouble finding health care providers who are in their insurance company’s network or who can’t get accurate information about which providers are in their network. Now, provider network issues are more contentious than ever.
Challenging Health Insurance Premium Rate Increases: Part 5 – Involving Consumers in the Rate Review Process
This is the fifth in our series of blogs that share tips and best practices from state consumer advocates about how to effectively participate in the health insurance rate review process.
This post describes how consumer feedback can keep health insurers’ premium rate increases in check, particularly when those consumers explain why the increases are unaffordable.
A recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that, compared to Americans who live in cities, rural Americans are poorer and more likely to have jobs that don’t offer health insurance. The analysis, which is based on Census Bureau data, found that rural Americans are more likely to fall into what is called the Medicaid “coverage gap”—they have been left without affordable health insurance options because their state chose not to expand Medicaid to more low-income people.
In health care, one of the most common questions asked by doctors, researchers, policymakers, and even patients is, “What works?” The answer lies in measuring and quantifying the quality of the different types of health care services that patients receive. To do this, quality measures are developed, typically through evidence-based research that points to a specific treatment, procedure, or drug as the clinical standard of care for a disease or condition. This research (often in the form of clinical trials) underpins much of what is practiced in medicine, providing critical information that helps the field determine the most effective treatments and approaches to helping patients.