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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.

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…

Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs

This survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation of Navigators and other Marketplace consumer assistance programs under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) offers a nationwide analysis of the number and distribution of assisters and people they helped. The report examines the experience of programs in conducting outreach and enrollment assistance during the first open enrollment period. It also reviews the nature of help consumers needed applying for Medicaid or premium tax credits and understanding health insurance choices, and discusses key factors that impacted the effectiveness of Marketplace Assister Programs.

National Survey Finds 10.6 Million People Helped By Navigators and Assisters During the Affordable Care Act’s First Open Enrollment Period

An estimated 10.6 million people nationally received personal help from navigators and assisters during the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period, finds a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of navigators and assister programs nationally. The survey estimates that the 4,400 assister programs operating nationally had an estimated 28,000 full-time staff and volunteers, suggesting each assister would have helped more than 370 people on average during the six-month open enrollment period that ran from October 1 through March 31.

What’s Trending in Health Care? Conservative Ideas

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman cuts through the political debate and reviews how some ideas conservatives like are taking hold in the American health system.

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.