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As the Economy Improves, the Number of Uninsured Is Falling But Not Because of a Rebound in Employer Sponsored Insurance

Insurance coverage has rebounded since the end of the Great Recession, mostly because of increases in Medicaid coverage. Employer coverage stabilized after the recession, but mostly because of policies allowing young adults to stay on parents’ coverage. For other age groups, employer coverage rates are still falling. Ongoing shifts in employment status, industry type, income, demographics, and region have affected changes in coverage nationally.

Retiree Health Benefits At the Crossroads

This issue brief reviews recent trends and developments in employer-sponsored retiree health coverage and examines the impact of recent legislation, such as the Medicare drug benefit and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on retiree health coverage. The report describes leading strategies employers have been pursuing or considering to limit costs for retiree health benefits. In addition, the report considers the potential implications of proposals aimed at reducing federal spending for retiree health coverage and costs.

A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Review of the Contraceptive Coverage Requirement

This issue brief dissects the issues raised by the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that private insurance plans include contraception as part of their coverage of preventive services for women. Over 40 for-profit corporations and over 40 nonprofit corporations have filed lawsuits claiming that the requirement to provide their employees with contraceptives violates their religious rights. On November 26, 2013, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases filed by for-profit corporations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, that claim that this requirement violates their religious rights. At the crux of these cases is a question that the Supreme Court has not previously addressed: Do for-profit corporations have religious protections under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment? The brief provides background on how the ACA’s contraceptive requirement works, summarizes some of the legal challenges brought by for-profit and non-profit organizations and discusses the implications of potential rulings by the Supreme Court.

2013 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 2013 EHBS survey finds average family health premiums rose 4 percent in 2013, relatively modest growth by historical standards.

The Uninsured: A Primer – Key Facts about Health Insurance on the Eve of Coverage Expansions

In 2012, 47 million nonelderly Americans were uninsured. While the number of uninsured people has decreased slightly in recent years, this trend has not reversed several years of recession-related losses in coverage for millions. Coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will go into effect in 2014 have the potential to substantially further reduce the number of people without insurance.

Tax Subsidies for Health Insurance

Today almost 160 million people in the United States obtain health insurance through an employer in large part because the tax system subsidizes the purchase of employer-sponsored coverage. The current subsidy costs the U.S. Treasury more than $200 billion in lost revenue since premiums for employer-provided health coverage are excluded…

Explaining Health Care Reform: What is Health Insurance?

A key element in any comprehensive health reform plan is defining what health insurance is and the amount of insurance coverage people will have. There are two components to that coverage: the types of services covered (e.g., physician care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, etc.), and the cost sharing required of enrollees…

Pulling it Together: Simple Arithmetic

This week we put out our annual benchmark survey of employer health coverage and costs. Two numbers jumped off the pages. The first number was the average cost of a family health insurance policy in 2009: $13,375. To put that number in context, if you are an employer, you can…

Changes in Health Insurance Status over a Two-Year Period

The ability to maintain health insurance in the face of rising costs and an uncertain economy is a key concern for families and featured prominently in the health reform debate. While the percentage of the population without coverage at any one time changes by only a relatively small amount over…