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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…

Pulling it Together: When Premiums Go Up 39%

Our group that works on health care cost issues just updated an analysis that sheds light on what’s really happening to people in the individual health insurance market, the issue Secretary Sebelius, a former Kansas insurance commissioner, and others have put in the spotlight by calling on Anthem and other…

Issues for Structuring Interim High-Risk Pools

One of the first provisions that would be implemented under federal health reform bills in the House and the Senate would establish a national high-risk pool program to offer coverage to otherwise uninsurable individuals during the interim period between enactment and implementation of broader health care reforms. High-risk pools provide…

Workplace Wellness Programs, Healthy Behaviors and Health Reform

Many large employers offer financial incentives to their employees to exercise regularly, improve their diets, lose weight and quit smoking. Health reform proposals would write some of these incentives into law. But some patient advocates say that, depending on how the incentives are structured, they can make coverage more expensive…

Pulling it Together: Last Week’s Health Reform “Shocker”

Last week we learned that health reform could cost the federal government at least a trillion dollars over ten years, and that it will be really difficult to forge bipartisan agreement on legislation and keep major interest groups on board. This obviously brought more angst to the deliberations, several Republicans…

Pulling it Together: The Sleeper in Health Reform

The health reform legislation currently being crafted on Capitol Hill is undeniably complex.  To oversimplify slightly it can be boiled down into four parts: coverage (subsidies for private coverage and Medicaid expansions); delivery and payment reforms; insurance market reforms and regulations; and prevention, with each broad category containing a range…

Explaining Health Care Reform: What Is An Employer “Pay-or-Play” Requirement?

To broaden coverage, some health reform proposals would require employers to offer coverage or pay to help finance subsidies for those without access to affordable coverage. These types of reforms are often referred to as “pay-or-play” policies. The brief explains the concept and policy implications of employer pay-or-play proposals, which…

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…

Congressional Testimony on Expanding Health Care Coverage

On May 5, 2009, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance held a roundtable discussion on health-care coverage issues as part of its health reform efforts. Diane Rowland, the Foundation’s Executive Vice President and Executive Director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, and Gary Claxton, Foundation Vice President…