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Quick Take: Timing Matters: States Waiting for a Supreme Court Decision to Plan an Exchange

State-based health insurance exchanges are an important component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) designed to extend subsidized private health insurance coverage to millions of Americans by 2014. Though projections show exchange enrollment could grow to 20 million individuals nationally, aggressive planning on the part of states…

Insurer Rebates under the Medical Loss Ratio: 2012 Estimates

Beginning in 2011, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance plans to pay out a minimum percentage of premium dollars towards health care expenses and quality improvement activities, limiting the amount spent on administrative and marketing costs and profit. Under the law, large group plans are required to spend at…

Explaining Health Care Reform: Medical Loss Ratio (MLR)

This fact sheet explains the Medical Loss Ratio requirement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The MLR provision limits the portion of premium dollars health insurers may spend on administration, marketing, and profits. Under health care reform, health insurers must publicly report the portion of premium dollars spent on health care and quality improvement and other activities in each state they operate. Insurers failing to meet the applicable standard must pay rebates to consumers and businesses.

Private Insurance Benefits and Cost-Sharing Under the ACA

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released guidance on the two key components that determine the level of protection that private insurance plans will provide to consumers under health reform. The first involves the services that insurance plans must cover, and the second involves how much patients…

Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives

In this post, we answer some of the key questions about the new contraceptive coverage policy generally, and more specifically, how it will be applied to religious organizations.

Betting on Private Insurers

Just-released estimates of national health spending in 2010 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show that 45% of our health care spending is financed by the federal and state governments, primarily through the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This share has grown temporarily in recent years because of the…

The Requirement to Buy Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act

Along with changes to the health insurance system that guarantee access to coverage to everyone regardless of pre-existing health conditions, the Affordable Care Act includes a requirement that many people be insured or pay a penalty. This simple flowchart illustrates how that requirement (sometimes known as an “individual mandate”) works.…

Insurance Brokers and the Medical Loss Ratio

In a close vote, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently adopted a resolution urging Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to exempt insurance broker and agent compensation from medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements or otherwise adjust the requirements to ease their effect. HHS last…

Webcast: New CMS Estimates of State-by-State Health Expenditures

The Kaiser Family Foundation held a live interactive webcast on December 7, 2011, to discuss trends in state health care expenditures and the implications for national and state efforts to constrain health care costs. The webcast examines new state-by-state estimates of public and private health spending from the Centers for…