Two new ACA studies released
Posted by Nikki Hurt on June 26, 2014
A new study published in Health Affairs found that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should coincide with the tax filing season. The researchers argued that consumers are more likely to make better decisions with their health coverage when taxes are on their minds, not the stresses associated with holiday spending. Currently, ACA open enrollment for 2015 is scheduled for November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.
Another study from the Urban Institute indicates that Medicaid expansion was associated with a reduction in the number of uninsured individuals as of March 2014. The study, which relied upon data from Urban’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey, found that states expanding Medicaid saw a drop in the uninsurance rate by 4%, whereas states that did not expand Medicaid saw a 1.4% reduction. Unlike the ACA open enrollment period, individuals eligible for Medicaid can enroll in the program at any point in a year.
Article discusses likelihood of funding gaps for safety-net hospitals
Posted by Nikki Hurt on June 2, 2014
A new article published in Health Affairs finds that some safety-net hospitals will still face funding issues, even after implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The article cites rising healthcare costs, the number of Americans still without insurance, and the disproportionate share hospital payment reductions within the ACA as reasons contributing to the continuation of funding gaps for many safety-net hospitals. States that did not expand Medicaid may be particularly impacted by these funding gaps, as they will not be receiving federal expansion money to offset the cuts in the safety-net funds.
Update: State Medicaid, Marketplace and Navigator Law Status
Posted by Nikki Hurt on May 12, 2014
This post provides the most updated map concerning state status on Medicaid expansion, Marketplace operation, and passage of Navigator laws.
RWJF and Urban report discusses repealing employer mandate
Posted by Nikki Hurt on
A new report released by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation stated that aside from costs, there would be a minimal impact if the administration removed the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate. The report, Why Not Just Eliminate the Employer Mandate?, stated that repealing the provision would result in 200,000 fewer individuals being covered in 2016, 500,000 fewer receiving employer-sponsored coverage, and 300,000 more qualifying for Medicaid or health insurance subsidies. Repealing the employer mandate, which the report states is not pivotal in expanding coverage under the ACA, would remove the business industry’s main issue with the ACA. The biggest challenge with removing the employer mandate would be finding a pay-for to account for the $130 billion the provision was anticipated to generate in fines and the costs of providing more subsidies.
NBER study discusses positive impact of including dental benefits in Medicaid
Posted by Nikki Hurt on April 22, 2014
A new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) indicates that including adult dental benefits in Medicaid plans can have a multitude of positive results. The study, How Do Providers Respond to Public Health Insurance Expansions? Evidence from Adult Medicaid Dental Benefits, found that covering dental benefits resulted in more dentists participating in Medicaid without decreasing the number of privately insured patients these dentists see. Additionally, the study reported that dentists participating in Medicaid were able to make greater use of dental hygienists while only mildly increasing patient wait times.
RAND survey shows uptick in employer sponsored insurance
Posted by Nikki Hurt 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.
CMS releases BHP final rule
Posted by Nikki Hurt on March 7, 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule and payment notice for the Basic Health Program (BHP). Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many individuals will have an income too high to qualify for Medicaid, yet subsidies may not make their health insurance affordable. BHP, a program aiming to reduce churning between Medicaid and private coverage, helps to ensure continuity of care for individuals with fluctuating incomes. The rule allows for states to receive funding for BHP beginning in 2015.
GAO report finds states spend one-third of Medicaid dollars on few beneficiaries
Posted by Nikki Hurt 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.
When Does Medicaid Coverage Amount to Minimum Essential Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act? An Update on the Treasury/IRS Rules Defining Minimum Essential Coverage
Posted by Nikki Hurt on February 11, 2014
A January 27, 2014 proposed rule in the Federal Register (79 Fed. Reg. 4302-4308) published by Treasury/IRS would add further clarification to the question of under what circumstances the agencies will classify Medicaid as minimum essential coverage (MEC) for purposes of satisfying the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to maintain MEC or pay a shared responsibility tax. Comments are due by April 28, 2014; the agencies also intend to hold a public hearing on the NPRM which covers Medicaid as well as other types of coverage.
CMS finds 6.3 million eligible for Medicaid or CHIP
Posted by Nikki Hurt on January 24, 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new report chronicling the numbed of individuals deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during the first three months of open enrollment. The report stated that 6.3 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP in state-based Marketplaces or in-person at state Medicaid offices. The report does not, however, provide numbers for Medicaid enrollment in federally-facilitated Marketplaces, nor does it differentiate between individuals that are newly eligible for Medicaid as a result of expansion and those that were previously eligible under the original Medicaid criteria.