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Medicare Advantage 2014 Spotlight: Plan Availability and Premiums

This data spotlight report examines trends in the Medicare Advantage marketplace, including the choices available to Medicare beneficiaries in 2014, premium levels and other plan features. Medicare beneficiaries, on average, will have 18 private Medicare Advantage plans available to them in 2014, reflecting both new plans entering the market and old plans exiting it. If Medicare Advantage enrollees remain in their current plans, average monthly premiums will rise by almost $5 per month, or 14 percent, to $39 per month. The analysis also examines some benefits provided by Medicare Advantage plans including drug coverage and caps on out-of-pocket spending, and finds that average out-of-pocket limits across all plans will climb 11 percent to $4,797 in 2014. Additionally, this analysis examines changes in the types of plans available (HMOs, PPOs, etc.), including special needs plans in 2014.

2015 Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs and Brokers

This nationwide survey analysis of Marketplace consumer assistance programs and brokers examines the nature of Marketplace assistance during the second open enrollment period for 2015 coverage, and offers unique insights into how Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation is progressing, what is changing, and what challenges remain. Building upon our Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs (2014), the analysis compares Assister Program capacity and experiences from the first open enrollment period to the next, and also includes the enrollment experience of brokers for the first time.

How Many Employers Could be Affected by the Cadillac Plan Tax?

As fall approaches, we can expect to hear more about how employers are adapting their health plans for 2016 open enrollments. One topic likely to garner a good deal of attention is how the Affordable Care Act’s high cost plan tax (HCPT), sometimes called the “Cadillac plan” tax or “Cadillac tax,” is affecting employer decisions about their health benefits. The tax takes effect in 2018.

The potential of facing an HCPT assessment as soon as 2018 is encouraging employers to assess their current health benefits and consider cost reductions to avoid triggering the tax. Some employers announced that they made changes in 2014 in anticipation of the HCPT, and more are likely to do so as the implementation date gets closer.

New Analysis: Half of U.S. Households Eligible for a Tax Subsidy Under the Health Law Would Owe a Repayment, While 45 Percent Would Receive a Refund

Estimated Average Repayment is $794. Estimated Average Refund is $773. Half of U.S. households eligible for a 2014 tax subsidy under the Affordable Care Act would owe a repayment to the government, while 45 percent would receive a refund, according to estimates from a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The…

Health Care Costs: What You Need To Know

On Wednesday, April 1, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Alliance for Health Reform presented a briefing to explore the trends in health care costs in both the public and private sectors.

Coverage of Contraceptive Services: A Review of Health Insurance Plans in Five States

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires most private plans to provide coverage for women’s preventive health care, including all prescribed FDA-approved contraceptive services, without cost sharing. To better understand how this provision is being implemented by health plans, Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) staff, with the Lewin Group, reviewed the insurance plan coverage policies for 12 prescribed contraceptive methods (excluding oral contraceptives). This report presents information from 20 different insurance carriers in five states (California, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, and Texas) about how they are applying reasonable medical management (RMM) techniques in their coverage of women’s contraceptive services. The different forms of female birth control reviewed in this report include the contraceptive ring, the patch, injections, implants, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and sterilization.

Why Low Growth in Health Costs Still Stings

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman shows how rising deductibles have eclipsed growth in wages, and discusses why that may be the main reason people think costs have been continuing to rise rapidly when instead growth has slowed.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.