Most people have a difficult time fully understanding their health insurance coverage, resulting in financial loss. The inability to accurately evaluate the various cost-sharing mechanisms leads many people to select a financially-dominated insurance plan—a plan which, given the premium and cost-sharing amounts, is economically suboptimal. For instance, spending $625 more in annual premium costs for a $500 lower deductible is economically irrational; yet, as shown below, the majority of people make that kind of mistake. A recent report analyzes the costs which result from these suboptimal choices. While people consider many factors besides cost when selecting health insurance, most of these preference differences were eliminated in this study and the problem persisted: 55 percent chose a financially-dominated plan. The average savings which could be achieved by switching from various dominated plans are shown.
Last week, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a great deal of data on drugs covered by Part D during 2013.
Because the subsidies are estimated and paid in advance based on income data from two years prior, many individuals received incorrect amounts and had to reconcile those errors when they filed their taxes this year. For the roughly two-thirds of subsidy recipients who had to pay money back, the average repayment was $729, according to a recent H&R Block report. Given the average premium and subsidy amount before these errors were reconciled, this repayment equates to an increased premium cost of 75 percent for these individuals, leaving only 58 percent of their plan premiums covered by the subsidy.
Many block buster drugs will soon face competition from generic versions as patent protections expire. Of the 20 top selling drugs in 2013, 13 will no longer have patent protection after 2016, with three more patents set to expire in 2018.
A recent trend in generic drugs has doctors, patients, and now anti-trust officials worried.
The Affordable Care Act includes an excise tax on high-cost employer-sponsored insurance, commonly referred to by the rhetorical auto analogy, “Cadillac Tax.” It is designed to slowly increase taxes on the otherwise tax-exempt insurance premiums paid through an employer.
In 2014, twenty mergers between two pharmaceutical companies were valued at over $1 billion.
During the 2014-2015 open enrollment period of the Health Insurance Marketplace, the national number of exchange beneficiaries increased from 8 million to roughly 11.7 million.
Silver plans continue to dominate enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
The Department of Defense provides health insurance for 9.6 million active duty servicemembers, retirees, and their family members through TriCare.