April 17, 2014
Overall, 11.8% of U.S. adults say they got a new health insurance policy in 2014. One-third of this group, or 4% nationally, say they did not have insurance in 2013. Another 7.5% got a new policy this year that replaced a previous policy. The rest either did not respond or were uncertain about their previous insurance status.
The key figure is the 4% who are newly insured in 2014, which most likely represents Americans’ response to the individual mandate requirement the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This estimate of the newly insured broadly aligns with the reduction Gallup has seen in the national uninsured rate from 2013 to the first days of April 2014. However, the calculation of the newly insured does not take into account those who may have been insured in 2013 but not in 2014.
via Newly Insured in 2014 Represent About 4% of U.S. Adults.
April 17, 2014
About 12 percent of people said they got a new insurance policy in 2014, and Gallup says the drop is basically in line with their assessment of changes in the uninsured population. They’ve seen it drop over the last few months, from 18 percent to about 16 percent (this works out since surely some substantial number of Americans lost insurance – 4 percent newly insured, 2 percent newly uninsured).
via Gallup: Half of the Newly Insured This Year Came from the Exchanges | National Review Online.
April 17, 2014
Access to preventive care at no charge to the patient is a key tenet of the federal health law. But questions about what qualifies as “preventive” are causing discord between doctors and patients, particularly when it comes to the traditional annual checkup.
Some patients, anticipating free visits to address all their health issues—past, present and potential—are upset to find that only some of that qualifies as preventive care, exempt from deductibles and copays.
“Patients are scheduling ‘physicals’ because physicals are free,” says Randy Wexler, a family-medicine physician in Columbus, Ohio. “But they come in and say, ‘I’ve been having headaches. My back has been bothering me and I’m depressed.’ That’s not part of a physical. That will trigger a copay.”
via Discord Over Doctors’ Bills and What Is Considered ‘Preventive’ – WSJ.com.
April 15, 2014
The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.
The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said.
An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument.
via Census Survey Revisions Mask Health Law Effects – NYTimes.com.
April 13, 2014
For Kids’ Sake: State-Level Trends in Children’s Health Insurance A State-by-State Analysis. SHADAC, April 2014.
April 10, 2014
My shiny, never used Horizon health card is as effective as a dollar bill during the Great Depression. In fact, an expert tells CNN, “I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines.” According to a study 33% of doctors are NOT accepting Medicaid. Here in Jersey, one has a dismal 40 percent chance of finding a doctor who accepts Medicaid – the lowest in the country.
via When Doctors Slam the Doors on the Newly Insured… – Wellness & Empowerment – EBONY.
April 9, 2014
RAND finds that, overall, 9.3 million more U.S. residents have health insurance in 2014 relative to 2013. That figure has a margin of error of 3.5 million. But that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part is that 8.2 million of that comes from growth in employer-sponsored insurance. Labor force participation has been steadily declining, especially among younger individuals, which would seemingly make this result unlikely. Other surveys from ADP and Aon Hewitt have found that employer-sponsored coverage among the young has been flat to down.
via RAND Comes Clean: Obamacare’s Exchanges Enrolled Only 1.4 Million Previously Uninsured Individuals.
April 4, 2014
Here’s more fallout from the health care law: Until now, customers could walk into an insurance office or go online to buy standard health care coverage any time of year. Not anymore.
Many people who didn’t sign up during the government’s open enrollment period that ended Monday will soon find it difficult or impossible to get insured this year, even if they go directly to a private company and money is no object. For some it’s already too late.
With limited exceptions, insurers are refusing to sell to individuals after the enrollment period for HealthCare.gov and the state marketplaces. They will lock out the young and
via Health insurance isn’t a year-round thing anymore – Businessweek.
April 2, 2014
The end result will be a reduction in the uninsured of some magnitude, that’s for sure. But it was never going to be hard to reduce the uninsured if that was all that concerned policymakers. Massive public subsidies and expansion of free public-insurance programs can expand insurance enrollment, so long as others were willing to pay for it.
But that wasn’t what was promised. Americans were told that reform would lower costs for everyone, and that no one would lose the policies they previously held and liked. People are dissatisfied with Obamacare because they’ve realized the law will never deliver on these promises. Indeed, just yesterday it was announced that health-care costs rose at the fastest pace in a decade in the last three months of 2013. Most Americans are seeing no benefit whatsoever from Obamacare, and in fact are paying much more than they ever have before.
In its first year, Obamacare did not completely collapse from lack of support or interest. That’s true. But that’s not the same thing as saying the law is out of the political woods and on track to be broadly accepted by the American people. Far from it.
via The ACA: Still falling short – Health – AEI.
March 29, 2014
It is in the realm of actuarial value (AV) requirements where the law demands pointless standardization. AV measures the extent to which a policy covers the average enrollee’s medical expenses. On average, for example, a plan with an AV of 63 percent covers 63 percent of enrollees’ medical costs.
All ACA-compliant plans must fit within four “metallic” bands. A platinum plan covers around 90 percent of an enrollee’s costs, with a 2 percent tolerance in either direction. Thus, a platinum plan covers between 88 and 92 percent of costs. A less expensive gold plan covers between 78 and 82 percent of expenses. A silver plan’s AV falls between 68 and 72 percent. Finally, bronze plans cover between 58 and 62 percent.
A plan offered in 2013 can have any AV, but come January 1, 2014, all plans must fall within those four narrow metallic bands. Therefore, a plan that covers 59 percent of medical expenses is okay, because it’s within the bronze band. But a plan that covers 96 percent of expenses is unacceptable because its coverage is too generous; it is, by official rhetoric, subpar, substandard, bad insurance.
via RealClearMarkets – Obamacare Is a Problem For Much More Than the 5%.