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Health Insurance Market Reforms: Pre-Existing Condition Exclusions

Insurers pursue multiple strategies to reduce the cost of covering enrollees with pre-existing conditions, or medical conditions and health problems that existed before the individual enrolled in a health plan. One strategy, the pre-existing condition exclusion, allows insurers to refuse to cover any costs associated with care for a pre-existing…

Explaining Health Care Reform: What is Health Insurance?

A key element in any comprehensive health reform plan is defining what health insurance is and the amount of insurance coverage people will have. There are two components to that coverage: the types of services covered (e.g., physician care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, etc.), and the cost sharing required of enrollees…

Health Reform: Lessons From Massachusetts

As Congress debates comprehensive national health reform, the Kaiser Family Foundation has two reports and an updated fact sheet that examine state-level health reform in Massachusetts and the lessons it offers for policymakers in Washington. Consumers’ Experience in Massachusetts: Lessons For National Health Reform and In Pursuit of Affordable Health…

Who Will be the H&R Block and TurboTax for Health Insurance?

There’s been quite a bit of focus lately insofar as these issues go, anyway on health insurance agents and brokers (sometimes known in the industry as “producers”). They are pushing legislation that has been introduced in Congress and is now being studied by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that…

Health Insurance Market Reforms: Portability

Most Americans have access to health insurance through an employer-sponsored health plan, a fact that has made changing or losing a job a complex issue for the purposes of maintaining health insurance. Moving to a new job can be hard if the employer does not offer health insurance, or if…

A Consumer Guide to Handling Disputes with Your Employer or Private Health Plan

Most people get their health care through some form of managed care plan – a health maintenance organization, preferred provider organization, or point-of-service option. Most of the time, people receive the care they need, but the potential exists for disagreements over the services that will be provided or paid for…

Navigator and In-Person Assistance Programs: A Snapshot of State Programs

With the open enrollment period for health insurance exchanges less than six months away, consumers are already asking questions about their new health care options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Even in the age of digital information, hands-on consumer assistance could play a key role in helping people understand…

Health Affairs Article: Impact of State Tort Reforms on Physician Malpractice Payments

A study in the March/April 2007 issue of Health Affairs analyzes the impact of state tort reforms on physician malpractice claims. The study finds that the tort law changes have had a measurable but limited impact on physician malpractice claims, depending on the type and strength of the tort reform. Commissioned by…

Explaining Health Care Reform: Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)

This fact sheet explains the Medical Loss Ratio requirement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The MLR provision limits the portion of premium dollars health insurers may spend on administration, marketing, and profits. Under health care reform, health insurers must publicly report the portion of premium dollars spent on health care and quality improvement and other activities in each state they operate. Insurers failing to meet the applicable standard must pay rebates to consumers and businesses.