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Insurance, Coverage & Costs: Long-Term Care Insurance: Less Bang, More Buck | What Are The Penalties For Not Getting Insurance?


Insurance, Coverage & Costs

Thursday, March 17, 2016
Check Kaiser Health News online for the latest headlines

This email contains the latest from Kaiser Health News about insurance, coverage and health care costs.  To view all KHN resources on these topics, visit the Insurance or Health Costs news pages.

Long-Term Care Insurance: Less Bang, More Buck
By Barbara Feder Ostrov
Seniors slammed with big premium increases face tough choices.

FAQ: What Are The Penalties For Not Getting Insurance?
By Michelle Andrews
A consumer’s guide to the tax penalties for not having insurance.

N.H., Calif. Seek To Help Consumers Get Details On Health Care Prices
By Jordan Rau
New Hampshire is expanding its website that lists the cost of specific medical procedures to include dental treatments and 65 prescription drugs. California is expanding its report cards on large medical groups to include cost of medical services by an average patient.

Consumer Choices Have Limited Impact On U.S. Health Care Spending: Study
By Michelle Andrews
An analysis from the Health Care Cost Institute finds that less than half of health care costs are for services considered “shoppable,” and consumers’ out-of-pocket spending on that is just 7 percent of all spending.

California Marketplace May Require Insurers To Pay Agent Commission
By Chad Terhune
Covered California’s Executive Director Lee said the measure is needed to keep insurers from slicing commissions to avoid enrolling the sickest patients.

Insurers And Medicare Agree On Measures Tracking Doctors’ Quality
By Jordan Rau
The first set of measures focus on seven types of care, including for hearts and cancer. The metrics will be integrated into formulas that determine physicians’ pay.

Top Hospitals Likely Are Available On A Marketplace Plan, Study Finds
By Michelle Andrews
Many of the hospitals can be found in network on at least one plan, but fewer are participating in more than that, according to the analysis.

Licking Wounds, Insurers Accelerate Moves To Limit Health-Law Enrollment
By Jay Hancock
Major changes in broker compensation are designed to discourage enrollment of the sickest, say consumer advocates.

Surprise! Here’s Another Bill For That ‘Paramedic Response’
By Anna Gorman
California cities increasingly are billing patients for paramedic services that they say were not covered by insurers. One 85-year-old woman took on city hall.

N.Y., Minn. Opt For Low-Cost Plans To Help Some Residents Afford Coverage
By Michelle Andrews
Both states are offering “basic health programs” that provide policies to consumers with low monthly premiums and copayments, and low or no deductibles.

Insurer’s Approval Of Genetic Testing For Some Cancers Raises Questions
By Julie Appleby
The decision by Independence Blue Cross of Pennsylvania to pay for whole genome sequencing for some cancer patients adds to the debate about how to handle these expensive tests.

Short-Term Health Plans: The Pros And Cons
By Emily Bazar
Columnist Emily Bazar answers a consumer’s question: “You could get one of these plans, pay the uninsured tax penalty and still pay less.”

Consumers Cut Costs By Combining Limited Coverage Health Plans, Despite Penalty Risks
By Michelle Andrews
People sometimes put together a variety of policies, such as short-term and critical illness plans, instead of buying more expensive comprehensive health coverage. But they likely will face federal health law penalties.

Check The Fine Print: Some Work-Based Health Plans Exclude Outpatient Surgeries
By Jay Hancock
This new generation of so-called “skinny plans” can save employers money, but it’s not yet clear if they will meet regulatory scrutiny.

New Federal Standards For Marketplace Plans May Reduce Out-Of-Pocket Spending
By Michelle Andrews
Officials have proposed establishing six options for the exchange plans that would set standard deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket spending limits, among other things.

Even With ‘Skin In The Game,’ Health Care Shoppers Are Not More Savvy
By Shefali Luthra
High-deductible health plans don’t necessarily trigger comparison shopping or informed health care choices by consumers, according to a survey published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Determining Whether A Marketplace Plan Covers Abortion Is Still Difficult
By Michelle Andrews
Many insurers leave out information about abortion coverage on the summary of benefits and coverage.

Hispanic Children’s Uninsured Rate Hits Record Low, Study Finds
By Lisa Gillespie
About 300,000 Hispanic children gained insurance in 2014 from 2013, dropping the number of uninsured to 1.7 million, researchers said, and two-thirds of 1.7 million uninsured Hispanic kids live in five states.

Study: Some Marketplace Customers Spend 25 Percent Of Income On Health Expenses
By Michelle Andrews
Urban Institute researchers found that premiums and out-of-pocket costs are still a major concern for people seeking coverage on the health care marketplaces.

Slipping Between Medicaid And Marketplace Coverage Can Leave Consumers Confused
By Michelle Andrews
KHN’s consumer columnist answers questions about how people can handle moving between the government health plan for low-income residents and the private plans offered on the federal health law’s exchanges.

More Employers Offer Plans That Provide Lump Sums For Critical Illnesses
By Michelle Andrews
The plans can help workers cover their high deductibles, but the policies also have limitations.

Obamacare Insurers Sweeten Plans With Free Doctor Visits
By Phil Galewitz
Some insurers are betting that lowering the barrier to seeing a doctor will encourage people to get needed care sooner. If it works, the health plans could save more than they spend on the benefit.

ER Doctors Say Federal Rules Could Raise Patients’ Out-Of-Network Bills
By Michelle Andrews
Two physician groups say the government’s regulations for out-of-network emergency care payments will cost consumers more because insurers will pay less.

Health Plans’ Coverage Of Some Drugs Can Be A Source Of Consumer Confusion
By Julie Appleby
Some medicines, particularly intravenous treatments, are not listed in plans’ pharmacy benefit section and, therefore, it’s difficult to confirm coverage specifics.

Despite Hopes Of Health Law Advocates, ‘Multi-State’ Health Plans Unavailable In Many States
By Michelle Andrews
The authors of the law mandated the program to try to generate more competition in areas where few plans were available. But the effort has stalled.

As HMOs Dominate, Alternatives Become More Expensive
By Julie Appleby and Jordan Rau
A KHN analysis finds a sharp difference in premium prices between plans that offer out-of-network care and those that do not.

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent operating program of the Kaiser Family Foundation. (c) 2016 Kaiser Health News. All rights reserved.

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