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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.

Report Examines Current Role and Future Outlook of Retiree Health Coverage

A new Kaiser Family Foundation report examines the current role and future outlook of employer-sponsored retiree health benefits for pre-65 and Medicare-eligible retirees. Retiree Health Benefits At the Crossroads reviews recent trends and developments in employer-sponsored retiree health coverage and examines the impact of recent legislation, such as the Medicare…

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…

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.

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. In several states, market shares 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.

Visualizing Health Policy: What Americans Pay for Health Insurance Under the ACA

The March 2014 Visualizing Health Policy infographic shows examples of what Americans will pay for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, using different scenarios for 40-year-old individuals living in different parts of the country. Visualizing Health Policy is a monthly infographic series produced in partnership with the Journal of the American…

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.