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Quantifying the Effects of Health Insurance Rate Review

This report from the Kaiser Family Foundation analyzes the effect of government efforts to ensure that insurance premium increases are justifiable and provide value to consumers and small businesses. Rate review programs require insurers in the small group and individual markets to submit proposed rate increase requests to state or…

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…

Health Insurance Market Reforms: Rate Restrictions

Rate restrictions limit how much insurance companies can vary premiums charged to individuals and businesses based on factors such as health status, age, tobacco use and gender. Currently, federal law does not place any limits on the ways that insurance companies set their premium rates. However, beginning January 1, 2014,…

Health Insurance Market Reforms: Guaranteed Issue

Guaranteed issue laws require insurance companies to issue a health plan to any applicant – an individual or a group – regardless of the applicant’s health status or other factors. Currently, in most states, insurance companies can deny nongroup coverage to people based on their health status or their medical…

Insurer Rebates under the Medical Loss Ratio: 2012 Estimates

Beginning in 2011, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance plans to pay out a minimum percentage of premium dollars towards health care expenses and quality improvement activities, limiting the amount spent on administrative and marketing costs and profit. Under the law, large group plans are required to spend at…

A Guide to the Medicaid Appeals Process

This background brief provides a comprehensive look at the appeals process for the Medicaid program, which differs significantly from those available through the Medicare program and private health insurance. The Medicaid appeals process provides redress for individual applicants and beneficiaries seeking eligibility for the program or coverage of prescribed services,…

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.

Inside Deficit Reduction: What Now?

The Budget Control Act of 2011 tasked members of a “Super Committee” to find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. Members did not reach an agreement by the November 23 deadline and as a result automatic spending cuts to defense and entitlement programs are set…

Webcast: New CMS Estimates of State-by-State Health Expenditures

The Kaiser Family Foundation held a live interactive webcast on December 7, 2011, to discuss trends in state health care expenditures and the implications for national and state efforts to constrain health care costs. The webcast examines new state-by-state estimates of public and private health spending from the Centers for…

Uniform Coverage Summaries for Consumers

This brief explains the proposed federal rule that requires private health plans to provide a short, easy-to-read uniform summary of benefits and coverage to all health insurance applicants and enrollees. The rule, which implements a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is intended to make it simpler for consumers…