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Health Coverage and Care in the South in 2014 and Beyond

This issue brief provides an overview of health coverage and care in the South today, with a focus on demographics, the impact of the ACA coverage expansions, and ongoing efforts to improve the delivery system and safety net in the South.

Health Coverage and Care in the South: A Chartbook

The South has faced longstanding disparities in health and health care, although significant variation exists between southern states. As a group, compared to those in other regions, Southerners are more likely to be uninsured, less likely to have access to needed health services, and more likely to experience a number of chronic health conditions. This chartbook provides key data on the demographic and economic characteristics of the southern population as well as their health status, health insurance coverage, and access to care today.

How the Midterms Factor Into Medicaid Expansion

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman discusses how Democratic victories in several close gubernatorial races on Tuesday could revive efforts to expand Medicaid.

Visualizing Health Policy: Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Insurance

This Visualizing Health Policy infographic takes a look at recent trends in employer-sponsored insurance, including average premium increases for workers with family coverage, the average yearly cost of premiums for single and family coverage and how those costs have increased in the past decade, along with the prevalence of health…

Early Impacts of the Medicaid Expansion for the Homeless Population

This analysis provides an early look at the impact of the expansion for homeless providers and the patients they serve. It is based on focus groups conducted with administrators, providers, and enrollment workers at four sites serving homeless individuals in states that have expanded Medicaid (Albuquerque, NM; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; and Portland, OR) and one site in a state that has not expanded (Jacksonville, FL), as well as administrative data collected from the sites.

Explaining the 2015 Open Enrollment Period

The brief provides an overview of what consumers can expect during the second annual Open Enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which runs from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. It is the second opportunity for uninsured individuals to enroll in private insurance coverage, premium tax credits and cost sharing subsidies and the first time that people newly insured in 2014 can renew their health plan coverage and subsidies. It also overlaps with the start of the tax filing season, during which subsidized individuals will undergo tax reconciliation of their 2014 financial assistance and the individual responsibility provisions of the ACA will be enforced.

Assessing Americans’ Familiarity With Health Insurance Terms and Concepts

With the approaching launch of the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces and at a time when open enrollment is also happening for many job-based plans, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,292 U.S. adults to shed light on Americans’ understanding of basic health insurance terms and concepts, and to identify gaps in awareness that could lead to difficulties for some individuals as they choose new plans or use their health plans.

The ACA’s Basic Health Program Option: Federal Requirements and State Trade-Offs

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) gives states the option to implement a Basic Health Program (BHP) that covers low-income residents through state-contracting plans outside the health insurance marketplace, rather than qualified health plans (QHPs). In March 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued final regulations on the requirements for a BHP and the methodology for calculating federal payments to states. States can choose to implement BHP beginning in 2015. This report summarizes these federal policies, including the requirements for BHP as well as the methodology for determining federal BHP payments. It then analyzes the key trade-offs facing states as they decide whether and, if so, how to implement BHP, with a particular focus on the impact of BHP on state budgets and the size, stability, and risk level of state marketplaces.

Providing Outreach and Enrollment Assistance: Lessons Learned from Community Health Centers in Massachusetts

As states and communities gear up to provide outreach and enrollment assistance under the ACA, the enrollment assistance experience of health centers in Massachusetts, where a major expansion of health coverage was implemented six years ago, offers valuable lessons that can help to inform current and emerging efforts by health centers and other community-based organizations to reach and enroll millions of low-income, uninsured Americans in health insurance.