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Medicare Part D 2008 Data Spotlight: Benefit Design

This Medicare Part D data spotlight examines the benefit design of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) in 2008, focusing on national plans. It shows that in 2008, as in previous years, only about 10 percent of national prescription drug plans offered the defined standard benefit. The spotlight also…

Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in 2009 and Key Changes Since 2006: Summary of Findings

Since 2006, Medicare beneficiaries have had access to prescription drug coverage offered by private plans, either stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs) or Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans (MA-PD plans). Today, more than 26 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare drug plans, including 17.5 million in stand-alone prescription drug plans…

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,…

An Employer Health Benefits Balance Sheet

There seems to be growing interest in the question of how many employers will keep offering coverage to their full-time employees once the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is fully implemented in 2014, or instead will choose to stop offering coverage and pay a penalty. While there is some good analysis…

What is a Mini-Med Plan?

One of the early insurance market changes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) phases out caps that some insurance plans impose on the annual dollar amount of benefits they will cover. Plans issued or renewed after September 23, 2010 cannot have annual limits of less than $750,000, and the threshold…

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…

Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives

In this post, we answer some of the key questions about the new contraceptive coverage policy generally, and more specifically, how it will be applied to religious organizations.

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…