Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Will payers pay for new healthcare technologies

Wearables, digital medicine and ‘beyond-the-pill’ are the latest healthcare craze.  New technologies–particular those combined with patients mobile phones–offer the promise of improving patient health.  One question is will insurance companies, the government and other payers actually reimburse for these technologies.  According to a recent FiercePharma article, the answer is yes…if there is evidence. Payers say they’re willing […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Health insurance in China

Although China has the world’s largest economy, the average individual is actually fairly poor.  Average incomes in the country are less than $15,000 per year, ranking #121 in the world.  However, a vast majority of Chinese have health insurance due to some recent reforms. A paper by Zhang et al. (2016) uses data from the 2011-2012 China […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Canada’s single payer system doesn’t cover drugs?

Yes it is true.  Wang et al. (2015) report: Unlike physician and hospital services, which are universal in Canada, coverage for prescription drugs dispensed outside hospitals falls outside the Canada Health Act and provincial governments only provide public drug programs for some population groups,primarily seniors and social assistance recipients…Canada is still the only country that […]

Read the rest of this entry »

ASSA 2016: How do high-deductible health plans affect spending levels?

Are high deductible health plans (HDHP) the holy grail for reducing cost? If so, how do consumers go about reducing cost, by reducing all utilization or shopping around for better prices? This is the research question that Ben Handel presented at 2016 ASSA meetings. He uses data from a large firm with 35,000-60,000 employees and […]

Read the rest of this entry »

2016 ASSA: How does consumer inattention affect pricing?

Why do Medicare patients choose to stay in their current Part D prescription drug plan or switch to another? Are they rational actors maximizing their their financial benefit or do other factors play a role. A paper by Kate Ho and co-authors (NBER WP version) presented at the 2016 ASSA meetings find the switch rates […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Wages and Benefits

For the past few years, some economists have claims that increases in income inequality are due to increased cost of employee benefits such as health insurance.  For instance, let’s say that health insurance cost $10,000 per worker.  Workers with a wage of $20,000 have total compensation of $30,000 including benefits, and workers with wages of […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Trends in Value-based reimbursement

A McKesson study cites 7 trends in value-based reimbursement: Rapid adoption of VBR. About 90% of payers and 81% of providers are already using some mix of value-based reimbursement (VBR) combined with fee-for-service (FFS). Collaborative regions are more aligned with VBR. Collaborative regions, where one or two payers and providers stand out, are more aligned […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Obamacare premium increases overstated?

Health insurance premiums appear will rise modestly or even decline for many Obamacare plans in state Health Insurance Exchanges.  A RWJ brief reports: Premium increases will be quite low between 2014 and 2015. In the rating areas we examine in the 17 states plus the District of Columbia, six states will have average premium reductions across the carriers’ […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Who will pay the Cadillac tax?

Beginning in 2018, many individuals will face the “Cadillac” tax. What is the Cadillac tax? The Cadillac tax is a tax on high-cost health insurance plans. According to a Truven report, it is calculated as “40 percent of the excess of total per employee per year (PEPY) healthcare costs above statutory threshold limits of $10,200 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

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 […]

Read the rest of this entry »