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Connecting Consumers to Coverage: Lessons Learned from Assisters for Successful Outreach and Enrollment

This brief highlights the experiences of Navigators and other Marketplace consumer assistance programs under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in conducting outreach and providing enrollment assistance during the ACA’s first open enrollment period. It provides insight into the outreach and enrollment strategies the assisters developed and identifies the keys to successfully overcoming the challenges of the first year. These insights are based on findings from focus groups with assisters in four cities: Miami, Florida; Houston, Texas; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Cleveland, Ohio.

El seguro de salud, explicado: ¡los YouToons lo tienen cubierto!

En Español El seguro de salud, explicado: ¡los YouToons lo tienen cubierto! desglosa conceptos de seguros como primas, deducibles y redes de proveedores.  Explica cómo las personas pagan por su cobertura y cómo obtener cuidado médico y medicamentos recetados con distintos tipos de seguros de salud, incluyendo HMOs y PPOs.…

Medical Debt Among People With Health Insurance

This report examines the causes and contributors to medical debt, medical bankruptcy, and other difficulties with medical bills among people with insurance. Through in-depth interviews of nearly two-dozen people and quantitative analysis of national survey data, the authors of this report find that in-network and out-of-net-work cost sharing primarily contribute to medical debt among the insured.

Workplace Wellness Programs Characteristics and Requirements

This issue brief summarizes what’s known about workplace wellness programs offered by employers today and the use of financial incentives to encourage workers to participate. Findings are drawn from the KFF/HRET Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey. In addition, the brief reviews proposed changes by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in federal standards governing financial incentives by workplace wellness programs and how these changes might balance the use of incentives against other discrimination and privacy protections.

JAMA Forum: Surprise, Surprise

Larry Levitt’s February 2016 post explains how “surprise medical bills” — unanticipated charges for out-of-network care – can happen. It describes some government approaches to the issue and outlines the challenges to protecting consumers. The post is now available at The JAMA Forum.

Comparison of Consumer Protections in Three Health Insurance Markets: Medicare Advantage, Qualified Health Plans and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations

This report examines similarities and differences in federal consumer protection standards for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Qualified Health Plans (QHPs), and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). It focuses on rules established at the federal level, though some states have chosen to go above the federal minimums and impose additional requirements for QHPs and Medicaid MCOs.

Surprise Medical Bills

This brief explores the problem of “surprise medical bills” — charges arising when an insured individual inadvertently receives care from an out-of-network provider. It reviews studies on the extent of the issue, including Kaiser Family Foundation polling data, and outlines state and federal policy responses, including rules and proposed rules for Medicare and plans in Affordable Care Act marketplaces.