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.

Marketplace Plans With Narrow Physician Networks Feature Lower Monthly Premiums Than Plans With Larger Networks

Research Brief
Oct. 4, 2016

Insurers offering plans on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces have used a strategy of restricted, or narrow, provider networks to limit costs. Narrow network plans are thought to be less expensive for consumers, but how much are they actually saving in premiums by choosing such plans? This study uses data from all ‘silver’ plans offered on the marketplaces in 2014 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to categorize networks into “t-shirt sizes” and to estimate the association between the breadth of a provider network and plan premiums.

Primary Care Appointment Availability for Medicaid Patients: Comparing Traditional and Premium Assistance Plans

Research Brief
Jul. 14, 2016

In 2014, Arkansas and Iowa expanded their Medicaid programs and enrolled many of their adult beneficiaries in commercial Marketplace plans. This study suggests that this “private option” may make it easier for new Medicaid patients to get primary care appointments.

Common and Costly Hospitalizations Among Insured Young Adults Since the Affordable Care Act

May. 11, 2016

Alexander Bain, Charlene Wong, Gail Slap, Daniel Polsky, Raina Merchant, Yaa Akosa Antwi, David Rubin, Carol Ford

In the Journal of Adolescent Health, Alexander Bain and colleagues, including Charlene Wong, Daniel Polsky, Raina Merchant, and David Rubinm, identify the most prevalent and costly inpatient hospitalizations in a national cohort of privately insured young adults since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The researchers analyzed 158,777 hospitalizations among 4.7 million young adults from January 2012 to June 2013. They find that the top diagnoses for young adult female hospitalizations were pregnancy related (71.9%) and mental illness (8.9%). The top diagnoses for young...

Q & A with Economist Martin Gaynor

Apr. 19, 2016

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.

For Third Enrollment Period, Marketplaces Expand Decision Support Tools to Assist Consumers

Research Brief
Apr. 4, 2016

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.

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