The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 Small Area Health Insurance Estimates report showed that the rate of Americans who lacked health insurance dropped between 2013 and 2019 in 2,909 counties and rose in just four counties after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented in 2014. (Photo courtesy of the United States Census Bureau.)
Health insurance premiums will cost $10 or less each month next year for four out of five consumers shopping for health insurance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces, the Biden administration announced on Monday. The savings come from higher subsidies for most Americans that Congress passed last spring under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
On Monday, Nov. 1, open enrollment for ACA plans will give consumers the widest variety of health insurance options and the lowest prices ever, said Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra. Also, HHS quadrupled the number of health insurance navigators available to guide consumers seeking information on how to sign up, and added an extra month to the open enrollment period, which ends on Jan. 15.
According to Becerra, health insurance costs are the lowest ever because the ARPA increased the subsidies for monthly premiums through Dec. 31, 2022. Technically, those increased funds are called enhanced premium tax credit subsidies, the Center for Health Insurance Reforms explained in a recent blog post about open enrollment.
Health insurers are expanding the use of bundled payment as a core part of their efforts to reform how they deliver and pay for care, according to a new report commissioned by the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute Inc. (HCI3), a nonprofit that supports bundled payment and other payment-reform initiatives. (See below for an announcement about an HCI3 webinar on bundled payment scheduled for June 24.)
The report (PDF) by consulting firm Bailit Health Purchasing LLC showed that bundled payment has grown beyond the pilot stage among Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurers.
“While the number of providers and payers implementing bundled payments is relatively small, we observed growth in the adoption of bundled payment initiatives,” the report said. Last year, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved more than 500 organizations to participate in its Bundled Payment for Care Improvement initiative. The Medicaid program in Arkansas has a bundled payment initiative, and Ohio and Tennessee are implementing similar programs. This level of activity may mean a movement toward broader adoption of bundled payment is on the horizon, the report said.
When the federal and state exchanges opened for business on Oct. 1, 2013, health care journalists found a trove of stories worth reporting on the cost of health insurance.
But they also found that simply reporting on the premiums that consumers paid was only part of the story. Consumers also had to pay deductibles at each metal level (bronze, silver, gold and platinum) and these payments varied widely.
Reporters also found that the federal subsidies for the poor added a layer of complexity to their reporting that made covering the actual cost of health insurance to be difficult and confusing. Continue reading