FEATURED RESEARCH, TESTIMONIES AND ANALYSIS:
ADDITIONAL RESEARCH, TESTIMONIES AND ANALYSIS:
In response to numerous reports of poor public opinion regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Obama Administration is attempting to publicize any and all good news about the health reform law. This week it was a report from the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) on the 105 million people benefitting from the lift of lifetime limits in health plans. A lifetime limit is a max dollar amount that a health insurance plan will pay out in benefits for any single beneficiary.
Last week the Gallup –Healthways Well Being Index released the second part of a new poll investigating recent trends in health insurance coverage in the United States. This publication focused specifically on health insurance coverage from employers, and may cause some heartache for the Obama Administration who continually claims that the number of people with affordable insurance will increase due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Unfortunately, the Gallup poll indicates that the average annual premium for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 9 percent between 2010 and 2011 and the number of Americans with employer-sponsored coverage fell.
Beginning September 1, 2011, health insurers must submit requests to state or federal reviewers if they wish to increase insurance rates by 10 percent or more. This “rate review” process is required by Section 2794 of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), which was added to Section 1003 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Pub. L. 111-148
One of the most controversial questions regarding health reform is whether or not employers will drop health insurance in 2014 when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is fully implemented and employees are able to purchase health plans in the exchanges. Currently, roughly 60 percent of the non-elderly population is covered by employer sponsored insurance. Studies done by the American Action Forum, Employment Policies Institute, and McKinsey & Company all point to the financial incentive for employers to drop coverage altogether. However, even more harmful to the ACA’s goal of affordable, universal, coverage is the scenario in which employers offer health insurance, but structure plan offerings in a way that encourages only their high-risk employees to buy plans on the individual market.
In its simplest form, health insurance is the business of shared medical risk. There are two players in this industry: insurers and beneficiaries. Insurers contract with beneficiaries, agreeing to pay the costs of medical care in exchange for a premium.
American Action Forum Healthcare Academic Chair Stephen Parente delivered Congressional testimony highlighting his recent study on the impact of allowing consumers to purchase health insurance across state lines. In this peer-review study, Parente et al found evidence of a significant opportunity to reduce the number of uninsured under a proposal to allow the purchase of individual health insurance across state lines using three different policy scenarios.