Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

Debate about whether consumers will pay more for insurance under health reform has become political, with conservative organizations saying Obamacare will increase premiums and liberals saying it won't, at least not when you take into account taxpayer-funded subsidies for health coverage. In a new study, RAND Corporation joins the latter group....
Health insurance in America has changed dramatically in the past few years, changes that will speed up once the Affordable Care Act (ACA) major provisions take effect in 2014. It’s easy to be sucked into the details of policy change, from payment reforms, to Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), to...
Employers face a multitude of challenges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The ACA fundamentally changes the landscape for employer sponsored health insurance, forcing businesses to understand, navigate, and adapt to a quickly changing, highly complex, and still uncertain marketplace for health benefits.  To illustrate this, here are 10...
Risk adjustment is a key mechanism to ensuring appropriate payments for Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D drug plans, and Medicaid health plans.  Since health plans vary in their mix of healthy and sick enrollees, risk adjustment modifies premium payments to better reflect the projected costs of members served and...
Medicare will spend $598.4 billion on health care services for seniors and the disabled in 2013 and about $635 billion in 2014.  Medicare expenditures will top $1 trillion in 2021, according to CMS actuarial projections. Medicare spending patterns and payment policies are highly complex and change constantly. The Affordable Care...
The individual health insurance market undergoes dramatic changes in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, especially for health plans offering coverage through the new Health Insurance Exchanges.  The ACA’s regulatory and financial framework present challenges for health insurers in selling coverage, managing risk, ensuring compliance, and adapting to future...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage expansions to childless adults, through Medicaid and Health Insurance Exchanges, could have broad effects on public health. A recent study gives us one good example of that by showing that pregnant women in Medicaid with tobacco cessation coverage were less likely to smoke...
In the ongoing struggle over wasteful health care spending, geographic cost variation is a veteran hot topic. The fact that public programs and private health plans spend more for providers in some regions, even after accounting for normal differences in costs by location, has irked policymakers and researchers who...
Though most commonly associated with Medicare, Accountable Care Organizations are now making their way into state Medicaid programs. Providers, of course, are an essential part of the ACO model. But many providers don’t yet have the resources to coordinate care, analyze cost and usage data, and adapt to value-based...
Even as Accountable Care Organizations and other payment reform models become more common, there is still not much comprehensive information about which models providers participate in most often, and what exactly to do to make those arrangements work well. It is also important for providers to understand the best practices...

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