Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

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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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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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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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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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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Health Reform in China

What is health insurance like in China?  A 2011 paper by Zhong in Health Economics provides a nice overview, which I discuss in today’s post. Between the 1950s and the end of the 1970s, three primary insurance schemes covered almost all Chinese citizens. Cooperative Medical System (CMS).  This program existed in 90% of Chinese villages.  […]

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Los Angeles and San Diego Health Care Markets

The California Healthcare Foundation has produced two market studies of the Los Angeles and San Diego health care markets. Key findings from the Los Angeles study include: The area’s dense urban environment has given rise to a large, fragmented health care market. Health care reform and a drop in private insurance enrollment have led to […]

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