Medical Progress Report 18 | Health Savings Accounts Under the Affordable Care Act: Challenges and Opportunities for Consumer-Directed Health Plans

October 18, 2014

Initial skepticism from HSA advocates was understandable; but based on our current research, it appears that the Obama administration was true to its word and that HSAs at least for the moment remain widely accessible on public exchanges. The report finds that, far from becoming obsolete under the ACA, high-deductible plans are widely available—98 percent of uninsured Americans have access to at least one HSA-eligible plan. Moreover, these plans also make up about 25 percent of total offerings on Obamacare exchanges. We also found that they remain significantly less expensive than traditional plan designs, offering savings of about 14 percent, on average.

Nonetheless, our analysis indicates that it remains difficult for consumers to identify HSA-eligible plans and that much more could be done to simplify their administration and educate exchange consumers on their advantages and limitations.

via Medical Progress Report 18 | Health Savings Accounts Under the Affordable Care Act: Challenges and Opportunities for Consumer-Directed Health Plans.


Revealed: The Secret Reason ObamaCare’s Insurance Options are So Mediocre – Amy Ridenour’s National Center Blog – A Conservative Blog

October 3, 2014

A just-released federal study reveals the secret behind the inferior insurance options presented on the ObamaCare exchanges.The small health insurance companies apparently are being driven out of the exchanges

via Revealed: The Secret Reason ObamaCare’s Insurance Options are So Mediocre – Amy Ridenour’s National Center Blog – A Conservative Blog.


For Many New Medicaid Enrollees, Care Is Hard to Find, Report Says – NYTimes.com

September 28, 2014

Enrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the Obama administration and state officials have done little to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, federal investigators say in a new report.

The report, to be issued this week by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, says state standards for access to care vary widely and are rarely enforced. As a result, it says, Medicaid patients often find that they must wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor.

via For Many New Medicaid Enrollees, Care Is Hard to Find, Report Says – NYTimes.com.


Winston-Salem Journal: Winston-Salem News, Sports, Entertainment, Politics, Classifieds

August 28, 2014

Insurers can no longer reject customers with expensive medical conditions thanks to the health care overhaul. But consumer advocates warn that companies are still using wiggle room to discourage the sickest – and costliest – patients from enrolling.

Some insurers are excluding well-known cancer centers from the list of providers they cover under a plan; requiring patients to make large, initial payments for HIV medications; or delaying participation in public insurance exchanges created by the overhaul.

Advocates and industry insiders say these practices may dissuade the neediest from signing up and make it likelier that the customers these insurers do serve will be healthier — and less expensive.

via Winston-Salem Journal: Winston-Salem News, Sports, Entertainment, Politics, Classifieds.


Churn and the ACA | The Health Care Blog

August 12, 2014

Different eligibility criteria for different populations can also cause a churn challenge, especially for families. Most states have different Medicaid eligibility limits for children than for adults. This means that if a family’s income increases, or a child ages out of CHIP coverage, the eligibility for the parents may change, while the eligibility for the children may not. This scenario results in split families, wherein the children have one type of coverage and adults have a different type. In many states, this means understanding the details, benefits and cost structures of two types of coverage, often from different companies, in the same household.

So what can we do to safeguard consumers from these disruptions? Fortunately, states have resources in their toolkits to mitigate the impacts of churn. They can work to maintain continuity of care for individuals, and they can make sure that insurance remains affordable when people jump from one coverage source to another.

via Churn and the ACA | The Health Care Blog.


Newly Insured by Health Law, Millions Face a Learning Curve – NYTimes.com

August 2, 2014

“I’ve had one doctor appointment since I got this insurance, and I had to pay $60,” Ms. Shabazz told Daniel Flynn, a counselor with the health network, the Health Federation of Philadelphia. “I don’t have $60.”Mr. Flynn spent almost two hours going over her Independence Blue Cross plan, which he explained had a “very complicated” network that grouped doctors and hospitals into three tiers. Ms. Shabazz, who has epilepsy, had not understood when she chose the plan that her doctors were in the most expensive tier.“None of that was explained when I signed up,” she said. “This is the first I’m hearing it.”

via Newly Insured by Health Law, Millions Face a Learning Curve – NYTimes.com.


Health Reform and Changes in Health Insurance Coverage in 2014 — NEJM

July 23, 2014

In this analysis of nationally representative survey data from January 2012 through June 2014, we found a significant decline in the uninsured rate among nonelderly adults that coincided with the initial open-enrollment period under the ACA. These changes remained highly significant after adjustment for potential confounders such as employment, demographic characteristics, and income. As compared with the baseline trend, the uninsured rate declined by 5.2 percentage points by the second quarter of 2014, a 26% relative decline from the 2012–2013 period. Combined with 2014 Census estimates of 198 million adults 18 to 64 years of age,19 this corresponds to 10.3 million adults gaining coverage, although depending on the model and confidence intervals, our sensitivity analyses imply a wide range from 7.3 to 17.2 million adults.

via Health Reform and Changes in Health Insurance Coverage in 2014 — NEJM.


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