Posted on February 20, 2014
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report citing how Medicaid spends a third of their funds on a small sect of high-expenditure Medicaid beneficiaries. The report, Medicaid: Demographics and Service Usage of Certain High-Expenditure Beneficiaries, found that states spent 31.6% of all Medicaid expenditures on 4.3% of the Medicaid population. Furthermore, the report stated that certain characteristics, such as residing in a long-term care facility, contributed to individuals being deemed high-expenditure Medicare beneficiaries.
Posted on February 10, 2014
A new set of frequently asked questions (FAQ) was published today by Douglas Elmendorf, the Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in an effort to clarify some of the misconceptions concerning CBO’s report released last week. The FAQ clarifies that 2.5 million Americans will not lose their jobs as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but will instead no longer feel forced to remain employed just to receive healthcare. The FAQ also addresses why CBO chose to revisit the labor market in their study.
Posted on February 6, 2014
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) intends to expand Multi-State Plans (MSP) in 2015. The MSP program, designed to be an alternative to the public option, currently consists of 150 plans across 30 states and DC. OPM intends to include one more issuer and five more states in the MSP program in 2015.
Posted on February 4, 2014
Several documents concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been recently released by different entities within the federal government. A letter from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) to the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee concerning the risk corridor provisions within the ACA surfaced today. The risk corridor was designed to aid insurance companies who may enroll a disproportionate number of less-healthy, or riskier, individuals. A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provides information on baseline premiums for individuals aged 19 to 64 across all 50 states. GAO used information available on healthcare.gov to assess the lowest premium amounts available to consumers in January 2014. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their report, The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014-2024, which stated that 6 million Americans will receive health insurance from ACA marketplaces, 1 million less than previously anticipated. The report also claimed that full-time employment by 2016 will be reduced by nearly 2 million individuals, which the CBO is attributing to a reduction in the number of hours worked as a result of employers being required to offer health care benefits for full-time employees.
Posted on January 31, 2014
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a new report containing frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning healthcare.gov contractors. Given the rocky roll out of healthcare.gov, CRS intended to answer common questions about the role of contractor procurement and performance. The CRS report explicitly highlights that questions are answered in general terms in an effort to protect the rights of the contracted parties and avoid the specifics of each document.
Posted on January 31, 2014
A new report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Health Research Institute found that premiums for plans offered through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplace were comparable, if not cheaper, than premiums of plans offered by employers. The report, Health insurance premiums:comparing ACA exchange rates to the employer-based market, noted several causes for this difference. First, many plans offered through the ACA marketplace have thinner networks, which will drive down costs. Second, premium rates between the public and private sectors may equilibrate after the ACA marketplace has been established for several years.
Posted on January 28, 2014
A report recently released by The Brookings Institution stated that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will lead to a redistribution of incomes. Specifically, the report cited that individuals with incomes in the bottom 20% of the population will see a 6% increase due to the availability of subsidies and Medicaid expansion, while individuals in higher income brackets may see a slight reduction in their incomes based upon higher taxes and shifts in the insurance market. Of note, the authors of the report include “government and employer contributions to health insurance” in their determinations for income.
Posted on January 21, 2014
The RAND Corporation released a study analyzing three proposals to address health insurance plan cancellations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). To ameliorate this issue, the administration initiated a transitional policy, which permitted individuals to remain on health insurance plans that did not meet the coverage requirements of the ACA. Many lawmakers, however, disagreed with this approach. Ultimately, RAND found that each proposal would “slightly to moderately” impact premiums, enrollment, and federal spending associated with the ACA. Moreover, RAND concluded that none of the options studied would result in a death spiral or collapse of the private insurance market.
Posted on January 16, 2014
The Congressional Research Service released a new report concerning the 2013 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions,or Unified Agenda, for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In order to help promote congressional oversight, the Unified Agenda contains certain data points on all rules associated with a specific federal law. The Unified Agenda divides rules into three categories: active actions, completed actions, and long-term actions. The report, Upcoming Rules Pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Spring 2013 Unified Agenda, covers the fifth Unified Agenda pertaining to the ACA.
Posted on January 14, 2014
Irrespective of their increased efforts, a new study released today indicates that community health centers operating in states less receptive to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are having difficulty performing outreach and enrolling uninsured individuals. The study, performed by the Geiger Gibson Program within The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and RCHN Community Health Foundation, is the first to assess how state restrictions are impacting enrollment and coverage under the ACA. A press release describing key findings about the study may be accessed here.