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What Do They Mean When They Talk About Pre-Existing Health Conditions?

One health care issue about which the presidential candidates acknowledge they have differences is how the health care system should treat people with pre-existing health conditions. People who have a health condition (such as an illness or pregnancy) or who are at higher than average risk of needing health care…

Private Insurance Benefits and Cost-Sharing Under the ACA

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released guidance on the two key components that determine the level of protection that private insurance plans will provide to consumers under health reform. The first involves the services that insurance plans must cover, and the second involves how much patients…

Betting on Private Insurers

Just-released estimates of national health spending in 2010 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show that 45% of our health care spending is financed by the federal and state governments, primarily through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This share has grown temporarily in recent years because of the…

Transparency and Complexity

This fall a new rule takes effect requiring all private health plans to offer a uniform, simple to read, summary of benefits and coverage (SBC).  The SBC will provide consumers with standardized information about how plans cover essential health benefits and what coverage limits and cost sharing applies. The SBC…

KFF Data Note: A Snapshot of Public Opinion on the Individual Mandate

This week, the Supreme Court hears arguments on several challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the provision that requires individuals to purchase health insurance as of 2014, known as the individual mandate. For the two years since the law’s passage, and during the debate leading…

The Individual Mandate: How Sweeping?

The so-called “individual mandate”  – the provision under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires most individuals to carry a minimum level of insurance coverage and is now being considered by the Supreme Court – has emerged as the least popular element of the reform law and the prime target for…

Health Insurance Transparency under the Affordable Care Act

In February, a final rule was issued implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that all health plans provide a uniform summary of coverage for all enrollees and applicants. The idea of providing easy-to-understand summaries of coverage is, in fact, the most popular provision in the ACA, according to a recent Kaiser…