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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.

Health Insurance Explained: The YouToons Have it Covered

In this five-minute animated video, the YouToons help consumers understand their health insurance through fun, easy-to-understand explanations and scenarios. This cartoon serves as a tutorial for consumers and organizations. The YouToons previously appeared in the 2010 animated movie, “Health Reform Hits Main Street” and the 2013, “The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare: Health Insurance Changes Coming Your Way Under the Affordable Care Act.”

Kaiser Calculator Now Gives Consumers 2015 Zip Code-Specific Premium and Tax Credit Estimates for Marketplace Coverage

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator now includes zip code-specific data on 2015 health plans that are being sold through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces during the open enrollment period beginning Saturday, Nov. 15. With the new tool, consumers around the nation can generate estimates of their…

Challenges to Forecasting Obamacare Enrollment for 2015

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman explains why 2015 enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces is very hard to predict. All previous columns by Drew Altman are available online.

Estimating Federal Payments and Eligibility for Basic Health Programs: An Illustrative Example

In some states, policymakers and stakeholders are considering adoption of the Basic Health Program (BHP) option permitted under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Federal regulations allow BHP implementation beginning in 2015. Through BHP, consumers with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) who would otherwise qualify for subsidized qualified health plans (QHPs) offered in health insurance marketplaces instead are offered state-contracting standard health plans that provide coverage no less generous and affordable than what have been provided in the marketplace. To operate BHPs, states receive federal funding equal to 95 percent of the premium tax credits (PTCs) and cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) that BHP enrollees would have received if they had been covered through QHPs. This paper seeks to inform state-level analysts about the characteristics of BHP-eligible people in their state and how to use that information to estimate the approximate federal BHP payment amount per average BHP-eligible resident.

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: November 2014

Following the Nov. 4 midterm elections, nearly half of Americans expect increased debate between the two parties over the Affordable Care Act. In comparison, 42 percent say the amount of debate will not change, and very few (5%) say it will decrease. Conducted just prior to the start of the ACA’s second open enrollment season, the poll also probes the views of people without health insurance, one of the key target groups for outreach and enrollment efforts. It finds the uninsured remain largely unaware of the renewed opportunity to purchase or enroll in health insurance through the marketplaces over the next few months.

El seguro de salud, explicado: ¡los YouToons lo tienen cubierto!

En Español El seguro de salud, explicado: ¡los YouToons lo tienen cubierto! desglosa conceptos de seguros como primas, deducibles y redes de proveedores.  Explica cómo las personas pagan por su cobertura y cómo obtener cuidado médico y medicamentos recetados con distintos tipos de seguros de salud, incluyendo HMOs y PPOs.…