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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…

Oral Health and Medicare Beneficiaries: Coverage, Out-of-Pocket Spending, and Unmet Need

This brief describes the oral health of Medicare beneficiaries, examines sources of dental coverage for the Medicare population, and examines the utilization of dental services, out-of-pocket spending on dental care, and access problems. This analysis uses data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the Medicare Current Beneficiary…

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. The share of the economy devoted to health care increased from 7.2 percent in 1970 to 17.9 percent in 2009…

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.

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…

Betting on Private Insurers

Just-released estimates of national health spending in 2010 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show that 45% of our health care spending is financed by the federal and state governments, primarily through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This share has grown temporarily in recent years because of the…

Performing Under Pressure: Annual Findings of a 50-State Survey of Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and Cost-Sharing Policies in Medicaid and CHIP, 2011-2012

The annual 50-state survey of Medicaid and CHIP eligibility rules, enrollment and renewal procedures and cost-sharing practices, conducted by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured with the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, found that, despite continued fiscal pressures on states, eligibility policies remained stable in nearly…

Restructuring Medicare’s Benefit Design: Implications for Beneficiaries and Spending

Several deficit-reduction plans have proposed combining Medicare’s separate deductibles for hospital and physician services, standardizing cost sharing across types of benefits, and establishing a new limit on annual out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries. A new Kaiser Family Foundation study examines the potential implications of proposals to revamp Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements as…