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Health Care Costs: A Primer

This primer on health care spending in the United States reviews the growth in health care spending since 1970 and the impact of health care costs on families and employers.

Adding an Out-of-Pocket Spending Maximum to Medicare: Implementation Issues and Challenges

In an effort to simplify Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements, provide beneficiaries with catastrophic protection, and achieve program savings, some have proposed to restructure Medicare’s benefit design. Several recent proposals would create a unified deductible for Medicare Parts A and B, simplify cost-sharing requirements above the deductible, and add an annual limit on beneficiary out-of-pocket spending—a benefit feature typical of larger employer plans, but lacking in traditional Medicare. This issue brief describes the options for adding an out-of-pocket spending limit to Medicare and examines the operational issues that could arise in implementing both a uniform and an income-based out-of-pocket spending limit. Because the implementation of an income-related out-of-pocket maximum would pose somewhat greater complexity for Medicare, the operational issues associated with this approach are discussed in greater detail.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans: The Marketplace in 2013 and Key Trends, 2006-2013

This report presents findings from an analysis of the Medicare Part D marketplace in 2013 and changes in drug coverage and costs since 2006. It presents key findings related to Medicare drug plan availability, enrollment, premiums, low-income subsidies, the coverage gap, benefit design, cost sharing, formularies, and utilization management, based on data from CMS for all plans participating in Part D. The analysis was conducted jointly by researchers at Georgetown University, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

Report Examines Trends in the Medicare Part D Plan Marketplace

A new comprehensive Kaiser Family Foundation report analyzes key trends that have shaped the Medicare Part D marketplace since the program launched nine years ago, providing a detailed assessment of changes in plan availability, enrollment, premiums and cost sharing in both private stand-alone drug plans, and Medicare Advantage drug plans.

A Look at the Private Option in Arkansas

Based on stakeholder interviews and early data on coverage, reduced uncompensated care costs, and other topics, this issue brief provides an initial look at implementation of Arkansas’ Section 1115 Medicaid expansion demonstration waiver to require most adults newly eligible for Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion to enroll in Marketplace plans.

The ‘Private Option’ Medicaid Expansion in Arkansas Has Helped Reduce the Uninsured Rate and Uncompensated Care Costs While Boosting the State’s ACA Marketplace

A new issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that Arkansas’ “private option” Medicaid expansion has helped reduce the number of uninsured and bring down uncompensated care costs while strengthening the state’s ACA marketplace. A Look at the Private Option in Arkansas draws upon early data as well as…

2015 Employer Health Benefits Survey

This annual Employer Health Benefits Survey (EHBS) provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, and other relevant information. The 2015 EHBS survey finds average family health premiums rose 4 percent in 2015, relatively modest growth by historical standards.