Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Employer Health Benefits in California in 2011

Each year, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) examines trends in employer health benefits in the state of California.  Last year, I reported on the 2010 CHCF report and now I will examine the 2011 report. Between 2010 and 2011, some things have remained the same.  Healthcare premiums are far outpacing inflation over the medium […]

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Does California really love Managed Care?

In short, yes. California is the land of managed care. Kaiser-Permanente–the managed care poster child–owns one third of the market.  Love for managed care is not just in the private market; in 2010, over half of all Medi-Cal and more than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in managed care plans.  Further, California managed care […]

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Industry Consolidation

Last year, I mentioned how ACO requirements will lead to more industry consolidation.  A recent article by the Economist is finding that my prediction is becoming a reality. “Cigna, an insurer based in Connecticut, said it would pay $3.8 billion for HealthSpring, which offers services and insurance to the elderly. It is the latest deal […]

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State Governments Providing Health Insurance to More Children

Of the 6.6 million uninsured children in the nation, 4.3 million are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Approximately 2.8 million children come from families at or near the federal poverty line (FPL). Despite the fact that millions of children are uninsured, children’s participation rates in Medicaid/CHIP are increasing. Today I […]

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Does the U.S. Really Have a Free Market for Health Insurance?

Conventional wisdom holds that the U.S. has a free market for health insurance and Europe relies on a state-run, socialist health care system.  The U.S. ‘free market’ for health insurance, however, is in fact strictly regulated.  States exert significant authority over what benefits plans can offer and what premiums they charge.  Consider the following evidence […]

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Health Insurance Snapshot for 2009

There are approximately 265 million individuals in the United States under age 65 in 2009.  Using the 2010 March Current Population Survey (CPS) data, the employee benefits research institute provides the insurance coverage breakdowns. Employer-sponsored group plan: 156.1 million (59.0 percent) Insurance bought directly from insurer on individual market: 16.7 million (6.3 percent) Medicaid: 44.1 […]

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Health Insurance Premium Growth

Health Insurance premium inflation is back.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey 2011, health insurance premiums for single individuals was $5,429 for single individuals and $15,073 for a family plan.  Premium growth for single and family plans was below 6 percent per year over the last 5 years (2005-2010). However, between […]

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Estimates of Health Reform’s Effect on Employer-Sponsored Insurance (ESI)

Avalere Health provides a nice summary of some of the estimates of how health reform will affect the rate at which employers offer health insurance.  The provisions which may have an impact on health insurance offering include: Free-rider penalties (+) Exchanges (?) Medicaid expansion (-) Individual mandate (+) Small business tax credit (+) Insurance market […]

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Employers Pushing Healthier Living

“This isn’t about big brother telling people what to do,” says John Rice, GE’s vice-chairman, “but helping them make better choices.” The Economist reviews large employers efforts to improve employee health and thus decrease their own health care costs.  Some of these efforts include: Prohibiting smoking on company premises Handing our healthy recipes Building on-site […]

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Access to health insurance ≠ Access to health care.

Is the Massachusetts health reform a success?  Yes and no. In terms of increasing access to health care, it has been an unqualified success.  According to the Economist, only1.9% of Massachusetts residents were uninsured in 2010. Massachusetts’ health reform has not been able to offer universal access to health care or to constrain costs. ” One […]

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