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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.
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Surveying Health Care Quality & Value

December 3, 2014 Comments off

Surveying Health Care Quality & Value
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Recent years have brought numerous efforts to educate and engage Americans in what “quality” health care is, how to find it and how they can get better value for their dollars. To better understand the latest trends, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago to conduct three surveys through the summer and fall of 2014.

The surveys each individually examined how consumers and employers, as purchasers, perceive health care quality and how they use quality information and performance data on health plans and providers. Learn more about the research and access links to the full reports with accompanying materials.

Comparing Federal Government Surveys that Count the Uninsured: 2014

October 30, 2014 Comments off

Comparing Federal Government Surveys that Count the Uninsured: 2014
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Estimates of the number of people who are uninsured are available from several different sources. This brief provides an annual update to comparisons of uninsurance estimates from five federal surveys. It presents trends in national estimates of uninsurance, presents the most recent available state-level estimates from these surveys, and describes the main reasons for variation in the estimates across the different surveys.

In States That Don’t Expand Medicaid, Who Gets New Coverage Assistance Under the ACA and Who Doesn’t?

October 14, 2014 Comments off

In States That Don’t Expand Medicaid, Who Gets New Coverage Assistance Under the ACA and Who Doesn’t? (PDF)
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

In states not expanding Medicaid, 6.3 million uninsured adults who could have qualified for Medicaid are instead ineligible, while 5.9 million other uninsured adults qualify for subsidized, private insurance. We compare these two groups and find the following:

Median income for such ineligible adults is 35 percent below poverty. For eligible adults, it is 175 percent of the federal poverty level. In dollars, median incomes are under $800 a month for the ineligible uninsured and over $2,000 a month for eligible adults. As a result:

  • Only 28.0 percent of uninsured black adults qualify for help paying for health coverage while fully 42.7 percent are ineligible because of nonexpansion. By contrast, more uninsured whites qualify (36.0 percent) than not (32.7 percent).
  • More uninsured women are ineligible than eligible (33.2 percent vs. 27.8 percent). Slightly more uninsured men qualify (30.9 percent) than not (29.7 percent).
  • Uninsured adults who are Hispanic, under age 25, or have at most a high school degree are more likely to be ineligible than eligible. The opposite is true for uninsured adults ages 45 to 64 or with at least some college education.

Uninsured adults ineligible for coverage assistance because of nonexpansion include 4.4 million with a high school degree or less, 3.1 million women, 1.6 million blacks, 1.5 million under age 25, and 1.3 million Latinos.

These contrasts involve coverage assistance that the ACA made available for the first time. However, before the ACA, nonexpansion states already provided Medicaid to 6.5 million adults, and 1.8 million uninsured adults were eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled.

The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America 2014

September 11, 2014 Comments off

The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America 2014
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Key Findings

  • Race and Ethnicity: Obesity rates remain higher among blacks and Latinos than among whites. Rates among blacks topped 40 percent in 11 states; rates among Latinos exceeded 35 percent in 5 states; for whites, 10 states had rates over 30 percent.
  • Socioeconomic Status: More than 33 percent of adults 18 and older who earn less than $15,000 per year are obese, compared with 25.4 percent who earn at least $50,000 per year.
  • Geography: 9 out of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South.
  • Age: Baby Boomers (45-to 64-year-olds) have the highest obesity rates of any age group – topping 35 percent in 17 states.
  • Severity: More than 6 percent of adults are severely** obese; the number of severely obese adults has quadrupled in the past 30 years.

Little Evidence of the ACA Increasing Part-Time Work So Far

September 8, 2014 Comments off

Little Evidence of the ACA Increasing Part-Time Work So Far
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Urban Institute

Some reports have suggested that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is already triggering an increase in part-time workers. Is this true?

So far, the available evidence suggests those claims are false. This Quick Strike analysis by the Urban Institute suggests that there is “no evidence that the ACA had already started increasing part-time work before 2014.”

If the ACA was likely to have increased part-time work, how might it have happened?

Primarily in two ways:

  • Employers with 50 or more employees will be subject to penalties under the ACA if they fail to comply with the act’s employer mandate—the requirement that they provide adequate and affordable coverage for their full-time employees. In anticipation of the mandate, some suggest, employers are seeking to avoid or reduce penalties either by cutting employee hours to below 30—the threshold at which an employee is considered full-time—or hiring more part-time workers.
  • Employees, offered access to health insurance under the ACA—including subsidies for those with family incomes below 400 percent of the federal poverty level—might be voluntarily choosing part-time employment because they no longer need the employer-sponsored health insurance available only to full-time employees.

Urban Institute researchers say their analysis offers more likely explanations. Their research indicates transitions between full-time and part-time work are consistent with historical patterns. Moreover, “These findings suggest that the increase in part-time work in 2014 is not ACA-related, but more likely due to a slower than normal recovery of full-time jobs following the great recession.”

Halbig v Burwell: Potential Implications for ACA Coverage and Subsidies

July 18, 2014 Comments off

Halbig v Burwell: Potential Implications for ACA Coverage and Subsidies
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A new report quantifies what’s at stake—in terms of health coverage and dollars—in the Halbig v. Burwell decision expected soon. Urban Institute researchers estimate that 7.3 million people, or about 62 percent of the 11.8 million people expected to enroll in federally facilitated marketplaces by 2016, could lose out on $36.1 billion in subsidies. Residents in Texas and Florida would lose the most, $5.6 billion and $4.8 billion respectively in subsidies at risk in this court decision.

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