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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…

Health Insurance Market Reforms: Rate Restrictions

Rate restrictions limit how much insurance companies can vary premiums charged to individuals and businesses based on factors such as health status, age, tobacco use and gender. Currently, federal law does not place any limits on the ways that insurance companies set their premium rates. However, beginning January 1, 2014,…

Health Insurance Market Reforms: Guaranteed Issue

Guaranteed issue laws require insurance companies to issue a health plan to any applicant – an individual or a group – regardless of the applicant’s health status or other factors. Currently, in most states, insurance companies can deny nongroup coverage to people based on their health status or their medical…

Quick Take: Timing Matters: States Waiting for a Supreme Court Decision to Plan an Exchange

State-based health insurance exchanges are an important component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) designed to extend subsidized private health insurance coverage to millions of Americans by 2014. Though projections show exchange enrollment could grow to 20 million individuals nationally, aggressive planning on the part of states…

Insurer Rebates under the Medical Loss Ratio: 2012 Estimates

Beginning in 2011, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance plans to pay out a minimum percentage of premium dollars towards health care expenses and quality improvement activities, limiting the amount spent on administrative and marketing costs and profit. Under the law, large group plans are required to spend at…

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…

Explaining Health Care Reform: Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)

This fact sheet explains the Medical Loss Ratio requirement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The MLR provision limits the portion of premium dollars health insurers may spend on administration, marketing, and profits. Under health care reform, health insurers must publicly report the portion of premium dollars spent on health care and quality improvement and other activities in each state they operate. Insurers failing to meet the applicable standard must pay rebates to consumers and businesses.

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…