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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.

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…

How Much Financial Assistance Are People Receiving Under the Affordable Care Act?

This analysis examines the amount of financial assistance that people have qualified for through premium tax credits in the new health insurance marketplaces (also known as exchanges) under the Affordable Care Act through the end of February 2014. The brief also examines the implications that the enrollment variation carries for the potential tax benefits the Affordable Care Act offers to state residents.

A Guide to the Supreme Court’s Review of the Contraceptive Coverage Requirement

This issue brief dissects the issues raised by the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that private insurance plans include contraception as part of their coverage of preventive services for women. Over 40 for-profit corporations and over 40 nonprofit corporations have filed lawsuits claiming that the requirement to provide their employees with contraceptives violates their religious rights. On November 26, 2013, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases filed by for-profit corporations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, that claim that this requirement violates their religious rights. At the crux of these cases is a question that the Supreme Court has not previously addressed: Do for-profit corporations have religious protections under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment? The brief provides background on how the ACA’s contraceptive requirement works, summarizes some of the legal challenges brought by for-profit and non-profit organizations and discusses the implications of potential rulings by the Supreme Court.

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…

Potential Supreme Court Decision: Who Will Bear the Coverage “Burdens?”

The Supreme Court is expected to reach a decision by the end of June, 2014 on the cases brought forth by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, two for profit corporations challenging the ACA’s contraceptive coverage requirement. The plaintiffs contend that the requirement that they include coverage for certain contraceptive services (emergency contraceptive pills and intrauterine devices) in the insurance plans “substantially burdens” both the corporation’s and the owners’ religious rights. During the arguments, several of the justices discussed the extent to which the corporations did or not did not have a choice in offering coverage to their workers. In this brief, we explore some of the factors influencing coverage decisions and possible consequences for women and employers given possible Supreme Court decision options: either upholding the contraceptive coverage requirement, or in favor of Hobby Lobby.

Why Data on Health-Care Price Variation Doesn’t Itself Solve the Problem

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman discusses a new Blue Cross Blue Shield Association report on “extreme price variation” in health care services and the limits of consumer information as a solution to the problem. All previous columns by Drew Altman are available…

The Cost of Care with Marketplace Coverage

This brief and accompanying slides examine cost sharing – deductibles, copayments and coinsurance – in 2015 insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federally-facilitated marketplaces. The analysis looks at out-of-pocket limits, as well as cost sharing for hospital stays, physician visits, emergency room visits, and prescription drugs, for plans across the metal levels (platinum, gold, silver and bronze).