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Third Party Resources

RAND survey shows uptick in employer sponsored insurance

Posted on April 9, 2014

A survey recently released by the RAND Corporation found that a net of 9.3 million individuals gained health insurance during the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) open enrollment period. The majority of these individuals gained coverage through employer sponsored insurance (ESI), with Medicaid coming in as the second most frequent payer. RAND posits the uptick in ESI resulted from either the individual mandate forcing people to take coverage they had previously denied, or the improvements in the economy that have enabled more individuals to be employed and therefore receive benefits.

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BPC releases report on LTC

Posted on April 8, 2014

A new report issued by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) warns of the pending demand for long term care (LTC) services. According to BPC, the number of Americans needing LTC is expected to double by 2050. The report, compiled by BPC’s Long-Term Care Initiative, provides different delivery and financing reforms that may be instituted to help address the growing need for LTC.

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Georgetown and RWJF publish new navigator resource guide

Posted on March 12, 2014

Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reform, in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released a navigator resource guide for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The guide serves as a primer for health insurance reform and is intended to supplement official training documents released by the administration. Topics addressed in the guide include: health insurance marketplaces, benefit standards, cost standards, rating, and premium tax credits.

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PwC report finds Marketplace premiums comparable to employer-sponsored coverage

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.

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Brookings report finds ACA will shift incomes

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.

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RAND study purports keeping canceled plans will not undermine new Marketplaces

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.

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Community Health Centers restriced in ability to enroll uninsured under 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.

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Healthinfolaw.org publishes new brief on data collection

Posted on January 2, 2014

A new brief released from healthinfolaw.org, a partnership between The George Washington University Department of Health Policy and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, discusses the certification and accreditation standards for qualified health plans (QHP) to be offered on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces. The article specifically discusses the impact of disclosing information on health insurance policies, practices, costs, and quality on public availability of data on health plan performance.

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Commonwealth Fund releases several ACA publications

Posted on December 30, 2013

As a wrap-up to 2013, The Commonwealth Fund has published a slew of studies and reports concerning the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Several of these publications are highlighted below.

The first publication, Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: How Are State Insurance Marketplaces Shaping Health Plan Design?, analyzes how state-based marketplaces (SBM) and state-partnership marketplaces (SPM) utilized their plan certification capabilities to enhance or alter the requirements for plans to participate in the marketplaces. The report examines the following certification areas: inclusion of essential community providers, benefit substitution, and provider networks. The second publication, What’s Behind Health Insurance Rate Increases? An Examination of What Insurers Reported to the Federal Government in 2012–2013, found that increases in healthcare rates from mid-2012 to mid-2013 can predominantly be attributed to medical trends, and a slight increase resulted from rate increases associated with the ACA. The third publication, Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: What States Are Doing to Simplify Health Plan Choice in the Insurance Marketplaces, discusses several policies employed by SBM to help simplify plan choices for consumers. Several of these policies include: incorporating meaningful difference standards (where a plan cannot be offered if it is too similar to one already in existence on the marketplace), limiting the number of plans or benefit designs an insurer may offer in the marketplace, and requiring standardized benefit designs.

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McKinsey report shows variation in Marketplace networks and premiums

Posted on December 16, 2013

A report issued by McKinsey & Company this month discusses changes in insurance network configurations resulting from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The report, Hospital networks: Configurations on the exchanges and their impact on premiums, analyzed over 20 cities in both federally-facilitated and state-based marketplaces. McKinsey found that nearly 60% of insurance plans sold on ACA Marketplaces cover fewer hospitals than current insurance plans. Moreover, ACA insurance plans with larger hospital networks charge higher premiums, with the more comprehensive plans costing 26% more than plans offering limited network coverage.

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