Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Health Insurance' Category

Small business in limbo and other health care stories

The ACA is here…for now.  The AHCA is dead…for now.  Where will the health insurance market be 1 year from now, let alone in 5 or 10 years?  These questions have not yet been answered and the uncertainty is especially taxing for small businesses, especially as their premiums have risen. Marketplace has an interesting story […]

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Why don’t people like the American Health Care Act?

There has been a lot of criticism of the Republican’s “repeal and replace” bill known as the American Health Care Act. The critiques are coming from both the left and the right. Let’s look at just one provision–the premium age bands–to better understand why both people on the left and right do not like the […]

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Avoiding unnecessary care: Does insurance coverage matter?

Consumer Reports‘ “Choosing Wisely” initiative aims to identify high-cost, low-value treatments that can often be avoided.  One question remains is why do providers still offer these services?  Do payer coverage policies or reimbursement rules affect these choices? A paper by Colla et al. (2017) attempts to answer that question.  The authors used commercial payer claims data […]

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Smarter deductibles?

Are high deductible health plans a good thing?  Republicans typically argue yes as they say that increased cost sharing reduces moral hazard.  That is, when people have to pay for medical care out of pocket, they don’t ask for unnecessary care or use care more frugally.  Democrats typically argue that increased cost sharing reduces demand […]

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How do payers use patient reported outcomes?

This is the question asked by a study conducted by Brogen et al. (2017).  To see how payers use patient reported outcomes (PRO) in oncology, the authors conducted a literatures search, and searched the websites of the following health technology assessment bodies: Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in Australia, Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies […]

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The Changing US Health Insurance Market

An interesting paper by Graves and Nikpay (2017) look at the evoluation of the health insurance market before and after Obamacare.  The authors find We found that the ACA’s unprecedented coverage changes increased transitions to Medicaid and nongroup coverage among the uninsured, while strengthening the existing employer-sponsored insurance system and improving retention of public coverage. […]

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The last Obamacare sign up?

Today is the last day to sign up for Obamacare for 2017.  If President Trump has his way, it could be the last day to sign up for Obamacare ever.  In fact, Marketplace reports that Trump administration decided to pull ads promoting last-minute sign-ups, although it reversed that decision shortly after. The media put forth mixed estimates […]

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Judge blocks Aetna-Humana merger

A judge blocked a potential $37 billion deal for the merger of large U.S. health insurers Aetna and Humana.  The Washington Post provides some explanation behind the judge’s logic: Bates wrote in his opinion that the proposed merger would have decreased competition substantially in the Medicare Advantage market in 364 counties. Aetna and Humana had argued […]

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Dismantling Obamacare: A How to Guide

President Trump today released an Executive Order that asked the secretary of HHS to: “…exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay” parts of the law that would place a fiscal burden on states, individuals or health-care providers. Most of the provisions in the ACA can’t just be […]

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Can we explain the growth in health care spending with growth in pet care spending?

A blog post by Austin Frakt of the Incidental Economist says the answer is yes. In almost every year since the 1960s, health care spending has grown at least as fast as the overall economy, and often much faster. Health economists have long debated why. Strange as it may sound, how we care for our […]

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