Private Insurance/Exchanges

The main source of health insurance in the US, primarily through employers. The Affordable Care Act established health insurance exchanges (marketplaces) for the individual and small group market.

Networks in ACA Marketplaces are Narrower for Mental Health Care Than for Primary Care

Research Brief
Sep. 5, 2017

In 2016, ACA marketplace plans offered provider networks that were far narrower for mental health care than for primary care. On average, plan networks included 24 percent of all primary care providers and 11 percent of all mental health care providers in a given market. Just 43 percent of psychiatrists and 19 percent of nonphysician mental health providers participate in any network. These findings raise important questions about network sufficiency, consumer choice, and access to mental health care in marketplace plans.

Chart of the Day: Adverse Tiering for HIV/AIDS Patients

Aug. 3, 2017

It’s called “adverse tiering” and it’s a benefit strategy designed to dissuade patients with expensive chronic conditions from enrolling in marketplace plans. The ACA prohibited plans from refusing to cover patients with pre-existing conditions and from charging them higher premiums. To avoid high-cost patients, some plans have structured their formularies to require substantial cost sharing for drugs in a certain class, particularly for expensive conditions such as HIV/AIDS.

‘A Giant Step in the Wrong Direction’

Jun. 26, 2017

Forty economists and health policy experts, including Dan Polsky and Zeke Emanuel, have signed a strongly worded letter opposing the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Exit, Voice or Loyalty? An Investigation into Mandated Portability of Front-Loaded Private Health Plans

Jun. 15, 2017

Juan Pablo Atal, Hanming Fang, Martin Karlsson, and Nicholas R. Zieberth

In a National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper, Juan Pablo Atal and colleagues, including Hanming Fang, study how a mandate designed to increase competition in the German private health care market influences rates of consumers switching insurers or switching plans within an insurer. In the German system, those who opt into private insurance are required to front-load premium costs, so that younger, healthier consumers pay disproportionately into old-age provisions to offset increased costs for older enrollees. Before a 2009 mandate, consumers who switched insurers could...

Taking Subsidies Off the Exchanges

Apr. 26, 2017

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has an “empty shelf” problem: consumers can use their premium subsidies only on the public health insurance exchanges, but insurers are not required to offer any plans on these exchanges.

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