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High-Risk Pools For Uninsurable Individuals

For more than 35 years, many states operated high-risk pool programs to offer non-group health coverage to uninsurable residents. The federal government also operated a temporary high-risk pool program established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide coverage to people with pre-existing conditions in advance of when broader insurance market changes took effect in 2014. This issue brief reviews the history of these programs to provide context for some of the potential benefits and challenges of a high-risk pool.

How ACA Marketplace Premiums Measure Up to Expectations

Premium increases in the health insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will likely be higher in 2017 than in recent years; however, the actual average benchmark premium in the ACA marketplaces in 2016 is below what the Congressional Budget Office projected for 2016 before the health law was passed. How actual marketplace premiums compare to what CBO expected in doing those budget projections is an important factor in determining whether the ACA continues to be on track to reducing the deficit.

Analysis of 2017 Premium Changes and Insurer Participation in the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces

This analysis provides an early look at changes in insurer participation and premiums for the lowest-cost and second-lowest silver marketplace plans in major cities in 13 states plus the District of Columbia where complete data on rates is publicly available for all insurers. The average increase, weighted by 2016 state marketplace enrollment, is higher this year than in the previous years, though the vast majority of marketplace customers who receive premium subsidies under the health law would be protected from premium increases if they shop around and choose one of their market’s lowest-cost plans.

JAMA Forum: The Partisan Divide on Health Care

In this post for JAMA, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt outlines the health care platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties, noting their fundamentally different aims and differing ideas about, among other things, the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and Medicare.

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: July 2016

In advance of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, the July Kaiser Health Tracking Poll examines the role that health care may play in the 2016 presidential election: how important health care is to voters, what health care issues voters would most like to hear the candidates discuss, and which party and candidates voters feel most closely aligned with on health care issues.

Summary of HHS’s Final Rule on Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities

On May 18, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a final rule to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination in health coverage and care based on race, color, national origin, age or disability, and, for the first time sex. This Issue Brief provides a technical summary of Section 1557 and the final rule and highlights new protections and provisions included in the law and rule. Notably, Section 1557 is the first federal civil rights law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in health care. Moreover, the proposed rule extends the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity. In addition, the final rule establishes regulations related to the provision of language assistance services based on long-standing HHS policy guidance.

A Look at Rural Hospital Closures and Implications for Access to Care: Three Case Studies

The number of rural hospital closures has increased significantly in recent years. This trend is expected to continue, raising questions about the impact the closures will have on rural communities’ access to health care services. To investigate the factors that contribute to rural hospital closures and the impact those closures have on access to health care in rural communities, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Urban Institute conducted case studies of three hospital closures that took place in 2015: Mercy Hospital in Independence, Kansas; Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton, Kentucky; and Marlboro Park Hospital in Bennettsville, South Carolina. Two of these hospitals were in states that did not adopt the Medicaid coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Kansas and South Carolina), while one of the hospitals was located in a Medicaid expansion state (Kentucky).

The Next Big Debate in Health Care

In this Wall Street Journal Think Tank column, Drew Altman discusses why adequacy of health coverage will rise as an issue when
the political world moves on from its focus on the Affordable Care Act.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.