Archive for the ‘Health insurance’ Category
AHL’s TOP STORY: Medical Claims Costs Expected To Increase an Average of 32% Nationwide, Actuaries Report Finds
Health insurers likely will have to pay an average of 32% more for medical claims under the Affordable Care Act, which potentially could result in higher insurance premiums for some consumers, according to a study released yesterday by the Society of Actuaries, AP/U-T San Diego reports.
For the report, researchers analyzed a model of the effects of the ACA’s insurance expansion in the individual market in each state. According to AP/U-T San Diego, the report did not attempt to estimate the effects on medical claims for those with employer-sponsored health plans, mainly because the ACA’s insurance expansion is focused on individuals who do not have insurance through their employers.
Republican and Democratic members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health on Friday debated whether certain provisions in the Affordable Care Act would significantly increase health insurance premiums, particularly for young adults in the individual and small-group markets, The Hill‘s “Healthwatch” reports (Viebeck, “Healthwatch,” The Hill, 3/15).
Beginning in 2014, individuals who do not purchase insurance coverage will face a $95 penalty under the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
Health insurers fear that the penalty will not be enough to attract young, healthy individuals to purchase coverage. Without those individuals, premiums will “shoot through the roof” because the majority of individuals in the insurance pool will be sick, Politico reports.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced she will extend or waive the deadline for states interested in running their own health insurance exchange or partnering with the federal government, the New York Times reports.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Sebelius was directed to determine “on or before Jan. 1, 2013,” whether states were prepared to run their own exchanges. However, instead of determining now whether the exchanges are ready, HHS will work with states and set timelines and goals to progress toward creating an exchange, according to the Times.
Gary Cohen, director of the federal Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said, “There is no deadline,” adding, “We are going to give final approval once states demonstrate that they are able to satisfy all the requirements and meet all the conditions of operating an exchange.”
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From the Affordable Care Act surviving a Supreme Court challenge and a presidential election to yet another “doc fix,” 2012 was filled with health care news. AHLAlerts was there every step of the way, providing reliable coverage and pointed analysis. But what were readers’ favorite stories? Find out after the jump.
Raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 — as some lawmakers have proposed as part of a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff — would increase insurance costs for individuals age 65 and older by $2,000, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Faler/Wayne, Bloomberg Businessweek, 12/6).
AHL’s TOP STORY: Employer Health Care Costs Increase by 4%, Smallest Increase Since 1997, Survey Finds
U.S. employers’ health care costs increased by 4.1% in 2012, marking the smallest increase in 15 years, according to a survey released today by Mercer, Columbus Business First reports (Ghose, Columbus Business First, 11/14).
The survey of about 2,800 public and private companies attributed the trend in part to more companies shifting to high-deductible health plans, which encourage workers to seek less-costly care. Nearly 60% of very large employers — more than 20,000 workers — offer such plans, and the portion of all employers offering such plans rose from 17% in 2011 to 22% in 2012, Mercer found (Hancock, “Capsules,” Kaiser Health News, 11/14).
Stakeholders are fiercely debating the effect of two government-sponsored multistate health plans on the insurance market, the Washington Post‘s “Wonkblog” reports.
The plans — at least one of which must be operated under contract with the government by a not-for-profit entity, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act — will be offered to consumers in all 50 state insurance exchanges. The plans are intended to serve as a substitute for a “public option” health plan that was nixed during ACA negotiations.
Many hospitals are assuming roles traditionally reserved for insurers, a trend that is expected to boost preventive care, Kaiser Health News/Washington Post reports.
One driver of the shift, according to KHN/Post, is that the U.S. health system continues to transition from fee-for-service care to global and bundled payments. As a result, the financial risk associated with patient care is shifting from insurers to providers. “The more hospitals take on risk and manage the care, the more they look like insurance companies,” said Advisory Board Company Chief Research Officer Chas Roades.