“Covered California Now Offering Dental Coverage to Adults,” the headline in the Long Beach Press Telegram read.
The news that adult dental coverage would be included among the benefits available on the state insurance exchange has been well-received by consumers and health advocates, Barbara Feder Ostrov of Kaiser Health News reported in the story. Continue reading
Guy Boulton, a veteran health reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, took a look at some of the conservative health care policy proposals we’ll be hearing more about as the 2016 campaign gets underway.
Conservative critics of the Affordable Care Act, in and out of government, haven’t rallied around a specific replacement plan, or even a specific repair plan.
But Boulton notes that proposals by conservatives generally allow more flexibility in designing health plan benefit packages. Insurance might be cheaper for some people – but more expensive for others. And without standard requirements it might be harder for consumers to compare their options. Continue reading
The Atlanta chapter of AHCJ and the Alliance for Health Reform sponsored a Dec. 2 event focused on the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act.
The panel discussed the state of navigator assistance, narrow networks and slower-than-expected enrollment since the insurance exchanges opened Nov. 15. About 25 AHCJ members and invited guests gathered for the event.
Joining me on the panel were Trey Sivley, a division director in the office of Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner; Lisa Stein of Seedco, which runs a navigator program in Georgia and three other states; and Dorian Martindale of Whitefoord, a federally qualified health center in Atlanta.
We post new resources on the Health Reform section of the website every month, and encourage you to visit and explore. But we wanted to draw your attention to some that are particularly timely.
Image by Sean via flickr.
- The Kaiser Family Foundation has a new tool, Mapping Marketplace Enrollment. You plug in a ZIP code and then you can see how many people are eligible for a federal exchange plan, and what proportion signed up in 2014 “within a 100,000-resident statistical-geographical area associated with the ZIP code.” It also provides demographic information, and can be used to make comparisons, including statewide.
- Louise Norris, a licensed broker who writes and blogs about insurance and the Affordable Care Act has done a 38-page e-book guide to Open Enrollment (Note: I’ve skimmed half of it, not read every word, but I have seen some of Norris’s work in the past.)
- We recently posted about closures of rural hospitals, and a reader pointed us to this recent issue brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It looks at rural residents who are hospitalized – who goes to rural hospitals and who “bypasses” them to go to urban ones.
- ProPublica just launched a web app that allows consumers – and journalists – to look up their current plan to see how premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket costs will change next year, or compare all 2015 plans offered in an area.
Want to know everything about premiums, networks, deductibles, cost-sharing and out-of-pocket limits for all 7,000-plus silver plans on exchanges in every state and Washington, D.C.? Well, now you can have it.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Breakaway Policy Strategies have created a unique dataset that you can access for free. (It can be viewed in Excel, too.) Breakaway also has done an 8-page report identifying some of the key findings in the data.
The material will let you spot national trends, see how your state is like or unlike other states, or see what variety of plans your state is offering, and what may have to change for next year. It also gives some details about what is or is not counted toward the deductible – which, as we’ve noted before, is not always straightforward.
The employer mandate was pushed back for 2014 and is being phased in more gradually in 2015-16. What portion of the workforce does this affect?
And what’s going on with that “30-hour” work week? That’s how the Affordable Care Act defines full time, and the GOP has legislation (likely to pass the House in early March – far less likely in the Democratic-led Senate) that would change the definition to the more standard 40-hour week.
As we’ve pointed out before, you hear a lot of talk about how the Affordable Care Act will hurt small business. But if you report those claims, be careful of the definitions. Small businesses with fewer than 50 full time equivalent (FTE) workers are and have always been exempt from the employer mandate. They can, if they wish, get coverage through the new (but still fairly underdeveloped) SHOP exchanges. But whether they choose to and how much they contribute to their workers’ coverage is up to them. Continue reading