The cost of private health insurance, the main mechanism by which people access and pay for health care, is high and rising. In fact, the average family spends more than $17,000 annually on health insurance premiums (KFF). That is, even when a family consumes no health care, they are buying the equivalent of a base-model Toyota Corolla in health insurance every year.
Martin Gaynor, PhD recently visited Penn and presented his new paper, “The Price Ain’t Right? Hospital Prices and Health Spending on the Privately Insured” (co-authored by Zack Cooper, Stuart Craig, and John Van Reenen). The national study was the first to analyze health care spending and hospital transaction prices among the privately insured—an analysis made possible by the availability of data from three of the largest private insurers in the U.S.
In Health Affairs, Charlene Wong and colleagues go shopping on the most recent iteration of ACA marketplaces. They find added features to help consumers browse and pick a health plan, including total cost estimators and provider look-up tools. Marketplaces differ in how they estimate out-of-pocket costs and how they display plan choices, although most continue to present plans in premium order.
h/t Paul Houchens
An interesting chart by Milliman caught my eye today. Here it is:
Many physician and consumer groups cheered when the Obama administration proposed network adequacy standards for health insurance plans sold on state and federal marketplaces. They will be disappointed that many of these standards did not make it into the Final Rule published yesterday in the Federal Register.
We may be witnessing the death of the Cadillac tax…a slow, Washington, DC style, death. The two-year delay in the tax, included in the end-of-year budget deal, was the first major legislative change to the ACA and the tax’s first figurative “nail in the coffin”.
It is cold outside, but certain health policy debates are hot enough to thaw even snowy Philadelphia. Puns aside, 2016 looks like it will provide no shortage of interesting health policy developments. Here’s what we expect to be talking about in 2016 on Insurance Reform, one of our key research and policy themes.
While controversy and rancor are perhaps the only certainties in the ongoing health care reform debate, a majority of Americans agree that expanding health insurance coverage is a worthy societal goal. One of the primary obstacles to achieving this goal is its cost. However, it is another obstacle that may pose the most daunting challenge: making health insurance more affordable for those lacking coverage without harming those with coverage.
December 12, 2015 is Universal Health Coverage Day
Although Section 1557 of the ACA may not be well known to the public, it took center stage at the recent Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) annual conference in Portland, Oregon. The conference educates practitioners and students about the unique health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LBGTQ) individuals and families, and reports on the latest research on LGBTQ health. Here are some of the latest research and policy developments emerging from the conference.
Section 1557 of the ACA
In JAMA Pediatrics, Amanda Kreider and colleagues, including Benjamin French, Jaya Aysola, Brendan Saloner, Kathleen Noonan and David Rubin, compare health care access, quality and cost outcomes by insurance type for children in low or moderate income households. Using family-reported measures from the National Surveys of Children’s Health, the authors examined children’s access to preventive and specialty care and caregiver satisfaction with insurance coverage, and also characterized unmet health needs and out-of-pocket costs over the last decade. The analysis revealed that...