Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Cash and Counselling

Many economists claim that insurance that gives  sick people cash to pay for their medical treatments is more efficient than insurance that provides in-kind medical services directly.  Although providing in-kind services is more likely to decrease the number of false claimants than insurance that provides cash, cash benefits allow beneficiaries to control how they spend […]

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Health Insurance for Truckers

Accountable Care Organizations.  Medical Homes.  Integrated networks of providers.  Many of the latest health services research catch phrases are attempting to provide patients with a one-stop shop for all their health care needs.  The integrated systems attempt to prevent situations such as when  multiple physicians prescribe a host of drugs, some of which could be contraindicated. These integrated […]

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Employer Health Benefits in California

California is in the midst of a fiscal crisis.  The New York Times reports that the state now faces a $28.1 billion shortfall in revenue over the next 18 months.  For California workers, things are also bleak.  Unemployment has reached 12% and the cost of health insurance premiums increased by 8.1%. The California Health Care […]

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Health Insurance for Part Time Workers

The goal of LyfeBank is basically to serve as a 401(k) for health insurance.  Employers can make contributions to the employees health insurance into a fund and workers can use this money to buy various health insurance products, reimburse themselves for co-payments or deductibles, or pay for medical costs directly. LyfeBank has two key innovations.  The […]

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Labor Day Post II: Health Insurance Cost Shifting

Sticky wages is the concept that few employees will agree to a nominal decrease in wages even if there is a decrease in productivity.  However, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that although nominal wages may not be decreasing, the amount of money workers are paying for health insurance is rising quickly (full report). “Workers on […]

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Over the last 15 years, Income Inequality has decreased?

Many economists have lamented that income inequality has grown over recent decades.  Although it is true that wage inequality has increased, compensation inequality may not have.  When I mention “compensation inequality,” I refer to the total package of compensation that a worker receives.  This includes wages, health insurance, 401(k) benefits, and other non-wage forms of […]

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Estimating the elasticity of health insurance offering for firms: Part II

How does the price of health insurance affect the probability that a firm will offer health insurance to their workers?  A previous post provides a variety of estimates of the elasticity of firm health insurance offering with respect to premiums.  A more recent article by Gruber and Lettau (2004) needs to be added to this […]

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Health Care Reform in Massachusetts

With healthcare reform having passed, how will the health insurance market look a few years from now?  Although Mitt Romney may (or may not) deny it, Massachusetts has been a model for President Obama’s health reform bill.  In 2006, Massachusetts passed its own health reform and when the share of uninsured residents was at 14%.  […]

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The Cost of Health Insurance Mandates

Health insurance mandates increase health insurance cost.  By compelling insurance companies to cover certain medical treatments, cost inevitably rise.  Of course the people who receive these treatments benefit while those who do not must pay additional premiums.  A recent paper by the Pacific Research Institute summarizes the findings of various studies of the impact of […]

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California’s Current Health Insurance Market

The California Healthcare Foundation looks at the latest health insurance trends in the nation’s most populous state. In California, like in many states, there is a blurring line between what defines an HMO compared to other forms of health insurance.  Almost all insurance carriers now offer “a broad array of products, some of which do not […]

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