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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.

Data Note: Gearing Up For Round 2 of Open Enrollment: Some Lessons From Round 1

As the second round of open enrollment approaches, policy makers, journalists, insurers and enrollment groups may want to keep in mind what health insurance shoppers told us about their experiences during the first open enrollment period. This data note examines selected findings from two Kaiser Family Foundation surveys that shed light on how people navigated the new options and choices available under the ACA during last fall’s open enrollment, with the hope of helping to inform our understanding of individuals needs during this second open enrollment period.

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.

What to Expect From the Next Congress on the ACA

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman explains how Republican control of Congress will likely bring challenges to the Affordable Care Act in two flavors.

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.

Getting into Gear for 2014: Insights from Three States Leading the Way in Preparing for Outreach and Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act

This report provides insight into preparations in Maryland, Nevada, and Oregon -three states that have established a State-based Marketplace, are moving forward with the Medicaid expansion, and are among the states leading the way in preparing for outreach and enrollment. e findings provide an overview of where these three states are in establishing their Marketplaces; preparing for the Medicaid expansion; planning for marketing, outreach and enrollment; and establishing enrollment assistance resources. It highlights the challenges the states have encountered and overcome, the successes they have achieved, and provides key lessons that may help inform implementation efforts moving forward.