Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Health Insurance' Category

How do states plan to control Obamacare premiums?

Obamacare mandates that individuals need to buy health insurance or else they will face a financial penalty. This threat, however, is not credible unless there are affordable health insurance options for most Americans. What are states doing to hold down health insurance rates in the ACA’s health insurance exchanges? A RWJF working paper provides some […]

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Healthcare.gov vs. Amazon.com

Which one is easier to use?  The answer to this is clear: Amazon.  Of course, health insurance is a much more difficult product for people to understand than most good at Amazon.  However, many policymakers may have underestimated the amount of customer service new enrollees in Healthcare.gov need.  The Washington Post reports: Just 13 percent of assistance […]

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How did the ACA affect Employer-Sponsored Insurance?

Most people think that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has focused on decreasing uninsurance rates by creating health insurance exchanges, providing subsidies for health insurance premiums for these exchanges, and expanding Medicaid. The ACA also has affected a number of other segments of the health care industry. Less well known is that the ACA also affected […]

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What is China’s NMCS?

In 2003, China introduced the New Cooperative Medical Scheme(NCMS), a health insurance scheme for the rural population. What is the NCMS?  Hou et al. (2014) describe the NMCS as follows: As a voluntary and heavily subsidized scheme, it has seen extremely rapid growth of coverage in comparison with most new schemes in developing countries. By the […]

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ACA, Uninsurance and American Cities

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) increased the likelihood individuals have insurance by: (i) offering states money to expand Medicaid eligibility, and (ii) offering individuals subsidies to purchase insurance through newly created health insurance exchanges.  Did it work?  A Robert Wood Johnson report examines at the effect of the ACA on uninsurance rates in 14 large […]

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Regional Variation in Medical Spending: A Texas Case Study

A large body of research (including my own) indicates that there exists significant regional variation in medical spending. What is the source of these differences: differences in the prices paid per service or differenes in the amount of healthcare services used? The conventional wisdom is that Medicare does a better job of controlling prices, and […]

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A new Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze

Currently, patients entering the health insurance exchanges can choose from platinum, gold, silver and bronze plans.  What is the difference between them?  As the names indicate, platinum has the highest premium and bronze the lowest.  However, bronze plans may be more expensive.  Why is this?  In essence, all the plans cover the same items.  The […]

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Health Reform in Minnesota

Was health reform successful in Minnesota?  If the metric of interest is reducing the number of uninsured, the answer is certainly yes.  A State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) report finds: The number of uninsured in Minnesota fell from 445,000 (8.2 percent of the population) to about 264,500 (4.9 percent of the population). How […]

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Are market leaders raising health insurance premiums?

That is the headline from an Avalere report. The top 5 Exchange plans in the state of Washington increased premiums between 6 and 12%. The Exchange plans with market share ranks of 6 or 7, on the other hand, had increases between 0-2% and the 8th place plans even cut rates by almost 7%. Is […]

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Is Health Exchange enrollment overstated?

Over 8 million people have signed up for a health plan through the health insurance exchanges created by the Affordabe Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).  Or have they?  Although policymakers may say that this is the truth, leaders at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), say that these figures may be overstated for two reasons:  Changing enrollment: In […]

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