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

Essential health benefits (EHB) will play a fundamental role in shaping health plans after 2014. Part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), EHBs define a baseline of 10 types of services those plans must cover, including prescription drugs, hospital services, preventive or wellness services, and chronic disease management. Qualified...
Businesses have a big incentive to keep their employees healthy and to curb their health costs and spending. Premiums for employer-sponsored insurance for families almost doubled in the past decade, with the employer’s share of premiums increasing from $5,866 in 2002 to $11,429 in 2012. Data from the Health...
Members of Congress and retired Members are eligible for health insurance coverage under the same system as other federal employees – the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP).  Under the Affordable Care Act, Congressmen and Senators, as well as Congressional staff, must receive their health coverage through the Health...
Employers have made major changes to their health benefits in the past decade. Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance increased more than 60 percent from 2001 to 2009, and the employee’s share of premiums went up more than 90 percent. There has also been a decline in the numbers of businesses...
Opaque prices – the norm in U.S. health care – in a key driver of inefficient, ineffective medical care and rapid cost increases.  Transparency of health care prices - public reporting of prices - is an essential ingredient for a high-value, cost effective health care system. In recent years, rising...
The number of people choosing consumer-directed health plans continued to grow in 2011, reaching 7 percent of people with private insurance. Consumer-directed or consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) are high-deductible plans paired with health savings accounts (HSAs). Individuals pay into HSAs with pre-tax income, reducing their tax burdens. The plans...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will prohibit health insurers from denying coverage and from excluding coverage of pre-existing coverage.  It will also limit how much more in premiums insurers can charge to high-cost groups compared to low-cost groups.  For example, a consumer's health status and sex may not be used to set premiums, even...
Employers should encourage shared decision-making - which involves patients in health care decisions - as a way to reduce medical costs and improve health outcomes among employees, argues a recent brief from the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH). Patients who have a better understanding of and are more...
Based on data from Germany’s experience with wellness programs, a recent report cautions that wellness incentives under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could lead to higher insurance premiums for low-income and chronically ill people. The Commonwealth Fund’s brief found that one quarter of the publicly insured population participated in...
A new study highlights interesting health care cost and utilization trends for Americans under age 65 with employer-sponsored health coverage. The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) analyzed data from Aetna, Humana, and United HealthCare, assessing price and utilization levels and changes, in their publication, Health Care Cost and Utilization Report: 2010....

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