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Minimum Contraceptive Coverage Requirements Clarified by HHS Guidance

New HHS clarification on ACA contraceptive coverage requirement specifies that insurance plans must cover at no cost to women all of the 18 contraceptive methods approved by the FDA.  If a provider recommends a specific option or product, plans must cover it at no cost as well. Minimum Contraceptive Coverage…

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: April 2015

This month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds public opinion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be almost evenly split The poll also asks about health care priorities for the President and Congress, and the concern that comes out on top for Democrats, Republicans and independents alike is making sure that high-cost drugs for chronic conditions are affordable to those who need them. Other than high-cost prescription drugs, Democrats, Republicans and independents have different ideas of their top priorities in health care. The poll also assesses Americans’ use of comparative price and quality information about doctors, hospitals and health plans.

Kaiser Health Policy News Index: April 2015

The health policy stories included in this month’s Kaiser Health Policy News Index were followed closely by about 4 in 10 Americans. Of the stories asked about this month, the one that garnered the most attention was coverage of the white police officer charged with the murder of an unarmed black man in South Carolina. Over half report closely following other stories, including the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps, a new religious freedom law in Indiana that allows business owners to refuse service to gay customers, negotiations over Iran’s Nuclear Program, and a terrorist attack by Islamic militants at a university in Kenya. The only non-health story to receive less attention than the health stories this month was coverage of the Congressional Republican budget proposals, followed closely by just over a third of the public.

At Tax Time, No Public Backlash Over Obamacare’s Individual Mandate

This was published as a Wall Street Journal Think Tank column on April 21, 2015. Tax season has come and gone with no great outbreak of protest about the Affordable Care Act’s least popular provision: the individual mandate. This central element of the ACA was included to help ensure that the individual…

At Tax Time, No Public Backlash Over Obamacare’s Individual Mandate

As tax season closes, Drew Altman looks at why the ACA’s individual mandate and tax credit reconciliation process “passed their first major hurdles this tax season with no significant public backlash,” in his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank.

Measles Outbreak and Vaccination Debate Capture Public’s Attention

Those Following Measles Story More Likely To Say They Worry About the Disease The public paid more attention to news coverage of the measles outbreak in the U.S. and the resulting debate on whether vaccinations should be required for all kids than any other news story included in this month’s…

New Analysis: Half of U.S. Households Eligible for a Tax Subsidy Under the Health Law Would Owe a Repayment, While 45 Percent Would Receive a Refund

Estimated Average Repayment is $794. Estimated Average Refund is $773. Half of U.S. households eligible for a 2014 tax subsidy under the Affordable Care Act would owe a repayment to the government, while 45 percent would receive a refund, according to estimates from a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The…

Data Note: How Has the Individual Insurance Market Grown Under the Affordable Care Act?

This data note examines changes in the individual insurance market under the Affordable Care Act. Through analysis of filings by insurers to state insurance departments, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that the number of people enrolled in the individual insurance market grew 40 percent from the end-of-year 2013 to the end-of-year 2014 and has likely continued growing in 2015 as well.

Evolving Picture of Nine Safety-Net Hospitals: Implications of the ACA and Other Strategies

Safety-net hospitals are an integral part of the U.S. health care landscape, providing care to some of the nation’s most medically vulnerable populations, including Medicaid enrollees and the uninsured. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. health care system is rapidly changing, and safety-net hospitals need to make major adjustments to survive in the post-reform environment. This brief draws on interviews with executives at nine safety-net hospital systems and examines how their hospitals have fared since major coverage provisions of the ACA came into effect in January 2014. The brief also examines new and ongoing strategies that the hospitals are adopting in the face of a quickly changing health care environment. While acknowledging the importance of the ACA, executives at each system in the study noted that other non-ACA related factors have also shaped how their hospitals fared over the last year. The hospitals in the study were: Cook County Health and Hospital System (CCHHS); Denver Health (Denver Health); Harris Health System (Harris Health); New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC); Parkland Health and Hospital System (Parkland); Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System (SCVHHS); San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH); University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (UMC), and Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCU). These hospitals participated in two earlier related studies that examined how the systems were preparing for health care reform.

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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.