Tag Archives: premiums

Getting behind the confusion that leads some to lose their subsidized health insurance

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, has been AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curated related material at healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Photo: frances1972 via Flickr

Photo: frances1972 via Flickr

We posted recently about California’s assessment of who was dropping out of the exchange, including the finding that most people leaving Covered California were getting health insurance elsewhere.

But as Abby Goodnough later reported from Yazoo City, Miss., that’s not always the reason for higher turnover in other areas. Retaining enrollees is a challenge – and affordability is one big reason. That’s true even for people whose premiums are heavily subsidized. Continue reading

Reviewing patterns in marketplace insurance pools

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, has been AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curated related material at healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr.com.

Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr.com.

Back when states were deciding whether to run their own exchanges or let the feds do it, they also had to make a lot of decisions about how their exchanges would operate.

One question was whether to have a “clearinghouse” and let any health plan that met the legal requirements participate in the marketplace. The other option was to be an “active purchaser,” and to have the state exchange directly negotiate with the health plans over premiums, provider networks etc.

The rationale, for each model: Continue reading

How are patients dealing with rising costs of dental coverage?

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJ

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJ

Dental benefits are on many people’s minds these days, as stories from across the country testify.

In Georgia, Rockdale County employees are facing an increase in their premiums, Alice Queen of The Rockdale Citizen writes. Premiums are also rising  in Anoka County, Minn., Peter Bodley reports for The Anoka County Union Herald. In spite of the expense, these jurisdictions acknowledge the importance of providing dental benefits.

Research shows that without dental coverage, people get less care and suffer more.

Yet the expense of benefits and the complexity of obtaining them continue to present barriers to many people, and the Affordable Care Act did not completely address these problems.

Continue reading

How to understand 2015 exchange plan insurance rate changes

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, has been AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curated related material at healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Image by 401(K) 2012 via Flickr

It’s rate increase season, and as we head into the second ACA enrollment season, it’s hard to understand why some rates are going up, some down – sometimes in the same place.

Also, some of the rates we’re hearing about are proposals. Depending on how much regulatory oomph state insurance officials have, the rates may change.

This post give you some ideas on what to watch for and how to think about rate increases in individual states, and what questions to ask the health plans and the regulators in your state. Remember that even in states using the federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, state insurance officials still have a role.

The Alliance for Health Reform (an invaluable resource on this issue) recently held a briefing on rate changes. The full briefing (webcast, transcript, background materials, source list) can be found online here.  A recent Health Affairs blog post by Christopher Koller and Sabrina Corlette provides another important resource.

Here are some key points outlined in these two resources: Continue reading

Covering premium rate increases for 2015? Check out these resources first

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Image by photosteve101 via flickr.

Image by photosteve101 via flickr.

As the nation’s health insurers file rate requests with state insurance departments, the news about health insurance premium increases is coming out almost daily now. The deadline for submitting rate requests on the marketplaces is June 27.

Premium rate review is an important story, obviously, because it begins to answer the question of what consumers will pay for insurance next year as Louise Radnofsky reported in The Wall Street Journal.

But it’s also a complex story because what health insurers propose now is not necessarily what consumers will pay next year, and, in fact, insurance rate requests are only part of the story, as Trudy Lieberman reported last week in the Columbia Journalism Review.

I’ve collected a number of other resources that explain the process of rate review, the economic factors and effects of rate changes, tips on how to find out if your state has an effective rate review process and how to get health insurance rate filings. See the tip sheet about premium rate reviews. 

What to watch for when insurers announce premium rate requests this month

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo by Truthout.org via flickr.

Photo by Truthout.org via flickr.

Insurers are preparing to announce their premium rates for 2015. To learn how insurers set rates, Families USA and Consumers Union (the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports) will host a national conference call on Thursday at noon ET for health care journalists.

Premium rates will be one of the biggest stories of the year because so much depends on whether they will rise by double digits or stay at about 10 percent, as they have in recent years. If rates rise much above double digits, Republicans in congressional midterm races are likely to use that information against Democrats who support the Affordable Care Act. If rates are at 10 percent or below, Democrats may be able to fend off such criticism.

Last week, Kelly Kennedy reported in USA Today that health insurance premiums grew an average of 10 percent annually in the three years before the ACA was enacted. She cited a report (PDF) from The Commonwealth Fund, “Growth and Variability in Health Plan Premiums in the Individual Insurance Market Before the Affordable Care Act” that explained the recent history of insurance rate increases. Continue reading