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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Explaining Health Care Reform: What is Health Insurance?

A key element in any comprehensive health reform plan is defining what health insurance is and the amount of insurance coverage people will have. There are two components to that coverage: the types of services covered (e.g., physician care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, etc.), and the cost sharing required of enrollees…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Assessing Congressional Budget Office Estimates of the Cost and Coverage Implications of Health Reform Proposals

This issue brief explains key elements of the Congressional Budget Office’s estimates of the major health reform bills pending in Congress, the Affordable Health Care for America Act (H.R. 3962) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). Throughout the health reform debate, CBO has analyzed these and…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Changes in Health Insurance Status over a Two-Year Period

The ability to maintain health insurance in the face of rising costs and an uncertain economy is a key concern for families and featured prominently in the health reform debate. While the percentage of the population without coverage at any one time changes by only a relatively small amount over…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Survey of People Who Purchase Their Own Insurance

While most people in the U.S. get health insurance through their employer, about 14 million people under age 65 have coverage through the non-group or individual market, which has faced scrutiny recently in news reports about some insurers’ steep rate increases and in the market reforms in the new health…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

What the Actuarial Values in the Affordable Care Act Mean

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) establishes four levels of coverage based on the concept of “actuarial value,” which represents the share of health care expenses the plan covers for a typical group of enrollees. As plans increase in actuarial value – bronze, silver, gold, and platinum –…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Health Care Costs Survey

This comprehensive survey from USA Today, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health examines how Americans are being affected by health care costs. The survey includes information on the barriers health care costs pose to obtaining medical care and the alternative measures people take to lower…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Explaining Health Care Reform: Questions About Health Insurance Exchanges

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), signed into law in March 2010, made broad changes to the way health insurance will be provided and paid for in the United States. PPACA created a new mechanism for purchasing coverage called Exchanges, which are entities that will be set up…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: February 2014

The February 2014 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that those who are most likely to be customers in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s new insurance exchanges (the uninsured and those who purchase their own coverage) are more likely to prefer less costly plans with narrow provider networks over more expensive plans with broader networks, while the public overall has the opposite preference. Overall opinion of the ACA remains about the same as it has been since November, with just under half the public viewing the law unfavorably and just over a third having a favorable view.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

All Eyes on the Supreme Court: More than Birth Control at Stake

On March 25th, the Supreme Court will hear two cases brought by for-profit corporations challenging the ACA’s contraceptive coverage rule on religious grounds. These two corporations are Hobby Lobby, a national chain of craft stores owned by a Christian family and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a cabinet manufacturer, owned by a Mennonite family. Beyond the impact on the ACA and contraceptive coverage, the Court’s decision may have implications for religious rights of employers and employees, as well as corporate and civil rights laws. This brief examines three fundamental questions raised by some of the 84 amicus briefs that have been submitted to the Court.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

How are Seniors Choosing and Changing Health Insurance Plans?

This report summarizes first-hand accounts of seniors’ Medicare private plan decision making strategies, based on focus groups conducted in four cities. Seniors found the initial plan selection process overwhelming due to the volume of information they received and their inability to organize it. Few used the government’s online comparison tool, and those that did cite several shortcomings. Many relied on advice from sources they trust, including insurance agents, plan representatives, friends, family members, doctor’s offices and pharmacists. After they enroll in a plan, many seniors did not revisit their initial decision or review plan options without the strong provocation of a substantial increase in cost, change in coverage, or shift in personal health care needs. Moreover, they feared that a change in plans may disrupt their care, or lead to an unforeseen increase in out-of-pocket costs, and require them to learn new rules and requirements. They are doubtful they would end up in a plan that is appreciatively different or better for them. Overall, seniors preferred to have numerous choices in plans but would like personalized help and advice from experts to ease the process.

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