Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Health Insurance' Category

Are Obamacare health plans a good deal?

Marketplace Money reports that a PwC study finds that Obamacare plans are actually lower cost than comparable plans outside the Health Insurance Exchanges. “That’s one of the misperceptions out there. That somehow they are barebones or you are not really getting adequate medical insurance,” she says. Connolly says even when you factor in all the […]

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Should single-payer countries subsidize private insurance?

In many countries with universal public health insurance, the government also provides subsidies for private insurance.  Examples of this practice include Australia, Spain and the United Kingdom.  Why do they do this?  Is it a good idea? There are arguments on both sides. Public subsidies are good.  Public subsidies for private insurance can stimulate the […]

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The End of Hospital Cost Shifting?

Medicare is cutting reimbursement to hospitals.  Austin Frakt (HSR 2013) gives some highlights findings from a CMS report: [The ACA] will permanently reduce the Medicare payments hospitals would otherwise receive. Its ‘productivity adjustment’ will scale payments downward by the average rate at which private nonfarm businesses’ productivity increases. That rate has been estimated to be […]

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The Hardship Provision

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains a provision, known as the individual mandate, which requires all individuals to have health insurance. Like most rules, however, there are loopholes. The most recent loopholes, however, were enacted by the Obama administration due to the problems with the Healthcare.gov website. Robert Laszewski explains: If you had a health […]

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Which plan is better?

Question: A person is considering two insurance plans. The first plan has a $5,000 deductible and a $5,000 maximum allowable out-of-pocket expense limit. The second plan has a $3,000 deductible, a 20% coinsurance rate, and a $9,000 out-of-pocket expense limit. Which plan is better? The answer of course depends on your expected health expenditures and […]

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Does Health Insurance Improve Health?

In Burkina Faso, the answer is ‘no‘. According to Fink et al. (2013): Our results suggest that the insurance had limited effects on average out-of-pocket expenditures in the target areas, but substantially reduced the likelihood of catastrophic health expenditure. The introduction of the insurance scheme did not have any effect on health outcomes for children […]

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Who uses out-of-network providers?

According to a recent paper by Kyanko, Curry and Busch (2003), 8 percent of insured individuals used an out-of-network physician. Why are people using out-of-network services? The authors give the following breakdown. Approximately 40 percent of individuals using out-of-network physicians experienced involuntary out-of-network care. Whereas fifteen percent of outpatient out-of-network contacts were involuntary, almost 60 […]

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Problem solved?

As most people know, President Obama promised that everyone could keep their old insurance if they liked it. Although most people are able to keep their old insurance, some people certainly are not and the president has gotten major political heat for this.  Today, the Obama administration responded to the critics.  The Washington Post WonkBlog […]

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Will the ACA cause employers to drop health insurance coverage?

As describe in this recent Health Affairs article, as of 2011, your likelihood of being offered health insurance looked like this:   Courtesy of Health Affairs. How will the ACA affect the share of individuals who receive coverage (and what type of insurance coverage they receive). This table describes some of the consequences.   Courtesy […]

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Are plans in the health insurance exchanges affordable?

In terms of the level of premiums, the answer is yes, these plans are relatively affordable.  The Wall Street Journal reports that: Across the country, the average premium for a 27-year-old nonsmoker, regardless of gender, will start at $163 a month for the lowest-cost “bronze” plan; $203 for the “silver” plan, which provides more benefits […]

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