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Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: June 2014

As many employers begin to expand their wellness programs under new guidelines set forth by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds workers oppose programs that make them pay higher premiums if they fail to participate or meet specific health goals. Overall public opinion of the ACA remains about the same as it has for the last several months, with a somewhat higher share of the public continuing to express an unfavorable view of the law (45%) than a favorable one (39%).

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.

What’s Trending in Health Care? Conservative Ideas

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. All previous columns by Drew Altman are available online.

The Potential Side Effects of Halbig

The Halbig case, if it prevails, would have far-reaching side effects on the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate and the functioning of the individual insurance market.

How are Seniors Choosing and Changing Health Insurance Plans?

This report summarizes first-hand accounts of seniors’ Medicare private plan decision making strategies, based on focus groups conducted in four cities. Seniors found the initial plan selection process overwhelming due to the volume of information they received and their inability to organize it. Few used the government’s online comparison tool, and those that did cite several shortcomings. Many relied on advice from sources they trust, including insurance agents, plan representatives, friends, family members, doctor’s offices and pharmacists. After they enroll in a plan, many seniors did not revisit their initial decision or review plan options without the strong provocation of a substantial increase in cost, change in coverage, or shift in personal health care needs. Moreover, they feared that a change in plans may disrupt their care, or lead to an unforeseen increase in out-of-pocket costs, and require them to learn new rules and requirements. They are doubtful they would end up in a plan that is appreciatively different or better for them. Overall, seniors preferred to have numerous choices in plans but would like personalized help and advice from experts to ease the process.

Interactive: A State-by-State Look at How the Uninsured Fare Under the ACA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes coverage options for people across the income spectrum, but there are big differences in eligibility for coverage depending on whether a state expands Medicaid or not. This interactive provides a state-by-state look at how many uninsured prior to the ACA coverage expansions are estimated to be eligible for Medicaid or tax credits, or in the coverage gap.