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National Trends in the Cost of Employer Health Insurance Coverage, 2003–2013

December 19, 2014 Comments off

National Trends in the Cost of Employer Health Insurance Coverage, 2003–2013
Source: Commonwealth Fund

Looking at trends in private employer-based health insurance from 2003 to 2013, this issue brief finds that premiums for family coverage increased 73 percent over the past decade—faster than median family income. Employees’ contributions to their premiums climbed by 93 percent over that time frame. At the same time, deductibles more than doubled in both large and small firms. Workers are thus paying more but getting less protective benefits. However, the study also finds that while premiums continued to rise through 2013, the rate of growth slowed between 2010 and 2013, following implementation of the Affordable Care Act. While families experienced slower growth in premium contributions and deductibles over this period, sluggish growth in median family income means families are paying more in premiums and deductibles as a share of their income than ever before.

The Uninsured: A Primer – Key Facts About Health Insurance and the Uninsured in America

December 19, 2014 Comments off

The Uninsured: A Primer – Key Facts About Health Insurance and the Uninsured in America
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

Millions of people in the United States go without health insurance each year. Because nearly all of the elderly are insured by Medicare, most uninsured Americans are nonelderly (below age 65). A majority of the nonelderly receive their health insurance as a job benefit, but not everyone has access to or can afford this type of coverage. Together, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) fill in gaps in the availability of coverage for millions of low-income people, in particular, children. However, Medicaid eligibility for adults remains limited in some states, and few people can afford to purchase coverage on their own without financial assistance.

The gaps in our health insurance system affect people of all ages, races and ethnicities, and income levels; however, those with the lowest incomes face the greatest risk of being uninsured. Being uninsured affects people’s access to needed medical care and their financial security. The access barriers facing uninsured people mean they are less likely to receive preventive care, are more likely to be hospitalized for conditions that could have been prevented, and are more likely to die in the hospital than those with insurance. The financial impact also can be severe. Uninsured families struggle financially to meet basic needs, and medical bills can quickly lead to medical debt.

Narrow Networks, Access to Hospitals and Premiums: An Analysis of Marketplace Products in Six Cities

December 16, 2014 Comments off

Narrow Networks, Access to Hospitals and Premiums: An Analysis of Marketplace Products in Six Cities
Source: Urban Institute

This report examines which hospitals are included within marketplace plans in six cities (Denver; New York City (Manhattan); Portland, Ore.; Providence; Baltimore; and Richmond, Va.). The report finds that nearly all insurers offering plans through the insurance Marketplaces in six cities include many highly ranked hospitals within their provider networks. The report also concludes that every hospital in the cities studied is included in at least one Marketplace plan network. The authors also looked at how the size of a plan’s provider network affected the cost of premiums. The report shows that the size of a plan’s network is not necessarily tied to premiums. The authors note that although narrowing networks (i.e., limiting the amount of providers covered under a specific plan) generally led to more-competitive, lower-cost premiums, some plans with broader networks had low premiums and some plans with narrow networks had high premiums.

Many Americans Fail to Ask Basic Questions Before Signing Up for Health Insurance, National Survey Finds

December 15, 2014 Comments off

Many Americans Fail to Ask Basic Questions Before Signing Up for Health Insurance, National Survey Finds
Source: American Institutes for Research

With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period starting in November, a national survey by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) finds that three out of four Americans are confident they know how to use health insurance, but 42 percent say they are not likely or only somewhat likely to review a plan’s details before signing up for coverage.

The AIR survey found wide gaps in Americans’ health insurance literacy, with only 20 percent able to calculate correctly how much they owe for a routine doctor’s visit.

Top health industry issues of 2015

December 15, 2014 Comments off

Top health industry issues of 2015
Source: PriceWaterhouseCoopers

Issue 1: Do-it-yourself healthcare

Issue 2: Leap from mobile app to medical device

Issue 3: Balancing privacy and convenience

Issue 4: High-cost patients spark innovations

Issue 5: Putting a price on positive outcomes

Issue 6: Open everything to everyone

Issue 7: Getting to know the newly insured

Issue 8: Scope of practice expands

Issue 9: Redefining well-being for millennials

Issue 10: Partner to win

Marketplace Renewals: State Efforts to Maximize Enrollment into Affordable Health Plan Options

December 15, 2014 Comments off

Marketplace Renewals: State Efforts to Maximize Enrollment into Affordable Health Plan Options
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Key Findings

  • 2015 benchmark plans may not be the same as those from 2014.
  • Due to changes, many consumers could be auto-enrolled in a plan that does not maximize their premium tax credit.

Willingness to Pay for Quality of Life Technologies to Enhance Independent Functioning Among Baby Boomers and the Elderly Adults

December 11, 2014 Comments off

Willingness to Pay for Quality of Life Technologies to Enhance Independent Functioning Among Baby Boomers and the Elderly Adults
Source: The Gerontologist

Purpose:
We report the results of a study designed to assess whether and how much potential individual end users are willing to pay for Quality of Life Technologies (QoLTs) designed to enhance functioning and independence.

Design and Methods:
We carried out a web survey of a nationally representative sample of U.S. baby boomers (aged 45–64; N = 416) and older adults (aged 65 and greater, N = 114). Respondents were first instructed to assume that they needed help with kitchen activities/personal care and that technology was available to help with things like meal preparation/dressing, and then they were asked the most they would be willing to pay each month out of pocket for these technologies.

Results:
We modeled willingness to pay some (72% of respondents) versus none (28%), and the most people were willing to pay. Those willing to pay something were on average willing to pay a maximum of $40.30 and $45.00 per month for kitchen and personal care technology assistance, respectively. Respondents concerned about privacy or who were currently using assistive technology were less willing to pay. Respondents with higher incomes, who were Hispanic, or who perceived a higher likelihood of needing help in the future were more willing to pay.

Implications:
Consumers’ willingness to pay out of pocket for technologies to improve their well-being and independence is limited. In order to be widely adopted, QoLTs will have to be highly cost effective so that third party payers such as Medicare and private insurance companies are willing to pay for them.

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