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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Summary of the Affordable Care Act

This document summarizes the comprehensive 2010 health reform law, often called the Affordable Care Act or ACA, including changes made to it by subsequent legislation, with a focus on provisions to expand coverage, control costs, and improve delivery systems.

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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.

Poll Finding Read More
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Advantage 2014 Spotlight: Plan Availability and Premiums

This data spotlight report examines trends in the Medicare Advantage marketplace, including the choices available to Medicare beneficiaries in 2014, premium levels and other plan features. Medicare beneficiaries, on average, will have 18 private Medicare Advantage plans available to them in 2014, reflecting both new plans entering the market and old plans exiting it. If Medicare Advantage enrollees remain in their current plans, average monthly premiums will rise by almost $5 per month, or 14 percent, to $39 per month. The analysis also examines some benefits provided by Medicare Advantage plans including drug coverage and caps on out-of-pocket spending, and finds that average out-of-pocket limits across all plans will climb 11 percent to $4,797 in 2014. Additionally, this analysis examines changes in the types of plans available (HMOs, PPOs, etc.), including special needs plans in 2014.

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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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Sizing Up Exchange Market Competition

This issue brief offers an early look into how competitive the health insurance exchanges (also called marketplaces) are under the Affordable Care Act in selected states. Through analysis of enrollment data released by seven states (California, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Washington) this brief finds that exchange markets in California and New York are shaping up to be more competitive than their individual markets were in 2012 while those of Connecticut and Washington show less competition (less even market share distribution). In several states, market concentration of individual insurers have shifted significantly compared to the individual market prior to the ACA, pointing to the potential for greater price competition in the future and the influence of new entrants to the market.

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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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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Report, Briefing Examine How Seniors Choose Among Their Medicare Plan Options

Report & Briefing Examine How Seniors Choose Among Their Medicare Plan Options Seniors appreciate having a wide range of Medicare private plan choices available to them but often feel unqualified to choose among them, a new Kaiser Family Foundation report concludes. Based on discussions with seniors in four cities around…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

The Next Big Health-Care Issue

Drew Altman, in The Wall Street Journal‘s Think Tank, writes that the next big concern for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be how much premiums increase in exchanges for 2015. He discusses the factors to focus on to put this issue in perspective when states report premium increases.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

In Health Care, Sometimes It’s Provider Choice vs. Price

Drew Altman, in The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, examines the tradeoff between choice of doctors and hospitals and price when choosing a narrow network.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Individual Market Enrollment Ticks Up in Early 2014

This early look at the growth in the individual or nongroup market during the first three months of 2014 uses first quarter enrollment data submitted by insurance companies to state regulators to estimate the size of the market at the end of March. It includes both on and off exchange enrollment and is net of any people leaving the market (whether through plan cancellations or general churn in the market). It does not include the surge of enrollment that occurred toward the end of the open enrollment period as those enrollees most likely began their coverage in April or May.

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