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Pulling It Together: Bono, Jon Stewart and the HIV/AIDS Message

One of the most interesting conversations on a health topic happened recently on The Daily Show between Bono and Jon Stewart. Bono told Stewart that we were “at the beginning of the end of the AIDS epidemic,” promising an announcement the next day that would explain how a combination of…

Insurance Brokers and the Medical Loss Ratio

In a close vote, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently adopted a resolution urging Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to exempt insurance broker and agent compensation from medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements or otherwise adjust the requirements to ease their effect. HHS last…

Pulling it Together: The Most Popular Provision in the ACA?

In our most recent monthly tracking poll, we asked the American people what elements of the health reform law they like and dislike. Surprisingly, the runaway favorite was a relatively obscure requirement that health plans provide consumers with a short, easy to understand description of their benefits and coverage. Sixty…

The Economy and Medical Care

Various market watchers have reported that the use of health care services has not been growing recently as it had in the past, resulting in lower than expected health care claims for people with private insurance and higher than expected earnings for insurers. A look at physician office visits by…

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Support for Health Reform Law Dips in October

After remaining roughly evenly split for most of the last year and a half, this month’s tracking poll found a higher share of the public expressing negative views towards the health reform law. About half (51 percent) say they have an unfavorable view of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act…

Questions About Essential Health Benefits

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently issued its long-awaited report on defining the essential health benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As expected, the committee preparing the IOM report did not recommend which specific services should be covered, but rather discussed what the process should be for defining the essential benefits,…

Pulling it Together: Business and Health Care Costs

Hidden away on page 218 of our annual Employer Health Benefits Survey is a table that shows what employers think of the main strategies they have to control health care costs.  More specifically, the table shows what the person in the firm responsible for its health benefits thinks, which is…

Pulling It Together: Rising Health Costs Are Not Just a Federal Budget Problem

Premiums for employer-provided health insurance, where 150 million Americans get their coverage, jumped 9% in 2011 while workers’ wages grew just 2%, according to our annual employer survey.  The average family policy now costs more than $15,000 per year, more than the cost of a Chevy Aveo or a Ford…

September Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Pre-Existing Conditions

With several elements of the ACA targeted toward individuals with pre-existing conditions, this month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll takes a closer look at this group. Fifty-two percent of Americans say that they or someone else in their household has what would be considered a “pre-existing condition,” and among this group, one…