Fewer than half of states offer dental care to adult Medicaid enrollees | State Health Access Data Assistance Center

March 29, 2014

Fewer than half of all U.S. states offer dental care to Medicaid eligible non-elderly adults according to a study by SHADAC’s Kathleen Call and Jessie Kemmick-Pintor along with Nafisa Elmi and Pricilla Flynn of the University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry. Even among adults living in states that offer dental benefits through Medicaid, such coverage does not ensure they will seek or access dental care.

The study authors project the effect of the ACA on patient-identified barriers to dental care based on a framework developed using data from a 2008 survey of Minnesota Medicaid enrollees with and without an annual dental visit. They project that the ACA will not reduce barriers to dental care for adult Medicaid enrollees.

via Fewer than half of states offer dental care to adult Medicaid enrollees | State Health Access Data Assistance Center.


Why I’m Jealous of My Dog’s Insurance – NYTimes.com

March 26, 2014

I’m happy he has such good health coverage. He’s my dog. And I’m jealous of him.

He has the kind of health care that I’d hoped the Affordable Care Act would usher in for those who, like my wife and me, have to buy health insurance on the open market. I’d long been frustrated at how health care shackles people to corporate jobs. I believed this legislation, signed four years ago this month, would free people to pursue their dreams, start new companies and not worry about the health insurance penalty.

What I didn’t count on was that it would make things harder for me and my wife.

via Why I’m Jealous of My Dog’s Insurance – NYTimes.com.


America’s Underinsured: A State-by-State Look at Health Insurance Affordability Prior to the New Coverage Expansions – The Commonwealth Fund

March 25, 2014

The Affordable Care Act insurance reforms seek to expand coverage and to improve the affordability of care and premiums. Before the implementation of the major reforms, data from U.S. census surveys indicated nearly 32 million insured people under age 65 were in households spending a high share of their income on medical care. Adding these “underinsured” people to the estimated 47.3 million uninsured, the state share of the population at risk for not being able to afford care ranged from 14 percent in Massachusetts to 36 percent to 38 percent in Idaho, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Nationally, more than half of people with low incomes and 20 percent of those with middle incomes were either underinsured or uninsured in 2012. The report provides state baselines to assess changes in coverage and affordability and compare states as insurance expansions and market reforms are implemented.

via America’s Underinsured: A State-by-State Look at Health Insurance Affordability Prior to the New Coverage Expansions – The Commonwealth Fund.


An Obamacare Fine on Overweight Americans: Discriminatory and Ineffective | The Health Care Blog

March 25, 2014

This is cause for serious concern. Not only does the change lend credence to a discredited approach to fighting obesity, but it in effect allows companies to punish their employees for pre-existing conditions, something that Obamacare was designed to avoid.

Worse that being simply ineffective, financial penalties for obesity have significant negative effects. They erode trust between employers and employees, prompting some workers to quit or suffer the genuine fear that the release of private health data will endanger their future employability.

These penalties also discriminate against the poor — many of whom live in neighborhoods with limited access to nutritional foods but plenty of cheap junk food available – and against people with mobility problems who are more likely to be obese. Large controlled studies show that increasing health care charges actually steers people away from essential medical care, exacerbating high blood pressure, worsening vision, and increasing mortality by 10% among low income people with chronic diseases.

via An Obamacare Fine on Overweight Americans: Discriminatory and Ineffective | The Health Care Blog.


The “No Obamacare Horror Stories” Fairy Tale

March 24, 2014

“There are plenty of [Obamacare] horror stories being told.  All of them are untrue,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid not long ago on the floor of the Senate.

Four years after the president signed the measure into law, there are, of course, many real stories of hardship under Obamacare. An extensive list of which is included at the end of this article. But when Reid made those remarks, he wasn’t repeating words carelessly dashed off by some 20-something staffer. Rather, he was repeating a meme that has become common among those who economist Thomas Sowell dubs “the Anointed,” intellectuals whose belief in their own superior knowledge and virtue leads to their misperception that they are an anointed elite more qualified to make decisions for the rest of us in order to lead humanity to a better life.

via The “No Obamacare Horror Stories” Fairy Tale.


Insurance Chief Suggests Adding A New, Lower Level Of Health Plan | WUNC

March 21, 2014

Ignagni’s proposal would presumably fall somewhere between the catastrophic plan and the bronze level of coverage. And she insists it would not draw most people into the cheapest plans.

“We’re not seeing that right now,” she said. “I think by that hypothesis you would have expected an extraordinary amount of people to buy bronze, and they’ve chosen more silver.”

Indeed, 67 percent of those in the federal marketplaces have chosen silver-level plans so far, but some have suggested that may be in part because silver-level plans have subsidies for cost-sharing — in addition to the premium subsidies that are available for all the metal tiers.

But would having a choice that offers fewer benefits help or hurt the existing market? That’s hard to say, said MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber, who helped develop the Massachusetts law that was the forerunner of the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s a very, very tough question,” Gruber tells Shots. “There’s a trade-off between premiums and benefits, and I don’t think there’s a right answer.”

via Insurance Chief Suggests Adding A New, Lower Level Of Health Plan | WUNC.


Justice Dept.: At Least 35% Of People Eligible For Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion Are Ex-Convicts

March 11, 2014

It turns out that more than a third of the U.S. population eligible for the Medicaid expansion are convicted criminals. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice estimated that “at least 35 percent of new Medicaid eligibles under the Affordable Care Act will have a history of criminal involvement.”

via Justice Dept.: At Least 35% Of People Eligible For Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion Are Ex-Convicts.


Little-Known Health Act Fact: Prison Inmates Are Signing Up – NYTimes.com

March 10, 2014

But the most important benefit of the program, corrections officials say, is that inmates who are enrolled in Medicaid while in jail or prison can have coverage after they get out. People coming out of jail or prison have disproportionately high rates of chronic diseases, especially mental illness and addictive disorders. Few, however, have insurance, and many would qualify for Medicaid under the income test for the program — 138 percent of the poverty line — in the 25 states that have elected to expand their programs.

Health care experts estimate that up to 35 percent of those newly eligible for Medicaid under Mr. Obama’s health care law are people with histories of criminal justice system involvement, including jail and prison inmates and those on parole or probation.

via Little-Known Health Act Fact: Prison Inmates Are Signing Up – NYTimes.com.


McKinsey: Only 14% Of Obamacare Exchange Sign-Ups Are Previously Uninsured Enrollees

March 8, 2014

The Obama administration has, for months now, been peddling nice-sounding numbers as to how many people are gaining health coverage due to Obamacare. But their numbers have been inflated on two fronts. First, not everyone who has “selected a marketplace plan” under Obamacare has actually paid the required premiums, payment being required to actually gain coverage. Second, only a fraction of people on the exchanges were previously uninsured. A new survey from McKinsey gives us a better view into the real numbers. Of the 3.3 million people that the White House has touted as Obamacare exchange “sign-ups,” less than 500,000 are actual uninsured people who have actually gained health coverage.

via McKinsey: Only 14% Of Obamacare Exchange Sign-Ups Are Previously Uninsured Enrollees.


Evaluating the “Keep Your Health Plan Fix”: Implications for the Affordable Care Act Compared to Legislative Alternatives | RAND

March 7, 2014

A RAND study of various options to extend non-qualified health plans reached the following conclusions:

Premium increases are small to moderate

ACA-compliant market premiums in 2015 would rise from a low of 1 percent under the optional extension proposal to a high of 10 percent under the optional extension plus buy-in proposal.

ACA-compliant market enrollment declines are modest to substantial

Under the optional extension proposal, enrollment in the ACA-compliant market would decline by 500,000 (4 percent). The optional extension plus buy-in proposal would lead to a decrease of 3.2 million enrollees (26 percent), the largest of the three proposals.

The number of uninsured decreases

The optional extension and mandatory extension proposals lead to small decreases in the number of uninsured of 260,000 and 450,000, respectively. Under the optional extension plus buy-in proposal, the number of uninsured would drop by 2.5 million. One important caveat to this seemingly positive outcome is that the non–ACA-compliant plans may have a significantly lower actuarial value than plans offered in the ACA-compliant market and provide more limited coverage.

via Evaluating the “Keep Your Health Plan Fix”: Implications for the Affordable Care Act Compared to Legislative Alternatives | RAND.


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