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The Individual Mandate: How Sweeping?

The so-called “individual mandate”  – the provision under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires most individuals to carry a minimum level of insurance coverage and is now being considered by the Supreme Court – has emerged as the least popular element of the reform law and the prime target for…

Is a Death Spiral Inevitable If There is No Mandate?

If the Supreme Court acts within the next couple of weeks to overturn the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while leaving the rest of the law intact, expect to hear a lot about how the individual insurance market will be destined for a “death spiral.” When compared…

Kaiser Survey Probes Health Insurance Brokers’ Views on Insurance Trends, ACA

A new nationally representative survey of 500 health insurance agents and brokers working in the individual and small group markets by the Kaiser Family Foundation explores their outlook on market trends and views on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The survey finds that many agents are seeing steep increases in premiums…

How Small Business Owners Get Health Insurance

As with any economic policy issue, there has been much discussion of how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will affect small businesses. But, there’s been very little focus on how the health reform law will affect the owners of those businesses as people. As our recently released Employer Health Benefits…

Peering Into the Black Box of Insurance Rating

Recently, the New York Times reported that private health insurers continue to seek large premium increases despite seeing lower than expected use of medical care and booking record profits. The story highlights a significant problem for health policy: the lack of good, public information about how health insurers manage health…

Who Will be the H&R Block and TurboTax for Health Insurance?

There’s been quite a bit of focus lately insofar as these issues go, anyway on health insurance agents and brokers (sometimes known in the industry as “producers”). They are pushing legislation that has been introduced in Congress and is now being studied by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that…

Pulling it Together: The Sleeper in Health Reform

The health reform legislation currently being crafted on Capitol Hill is undeniably complex.  To oversimplify slightly it can be boiled down into four parts: coverage (subsidies for private coverage and Medicaid expansions); delivery and payment reforms; insurance market reforms and regulations; and prevention, with each broad category containing a range…

Essential Health Benefits: Balancing Affordability and Adequacy

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), insurance plans offered through state insurance exchanges as well as non-grandfathered plans offered in the individual and small group markets – will be required to cover a set of health benefits and services called the “essential health benefits” package. Guidance issued…

The High and Rising Costs Of Health Care: What Can Be Done?

The Alliance for Health Reform, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and several cosponsors held the final event in a three-part series of discussions on costs, the factors driving them up and what (if anything) can be done about them. This briefing and others in the series take an in-depth look at…