Healthcare Topic: Insurance

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
If any major health care legislation is passed in the United States in 2009, it will almost certainly involve some form of an insurance exchange. This post focuses on why policymakers are eager to create an exchange and the detrimental impact of risk selection on true competition in an insurance exchange.
Monday, August 8, 2009
Health care should be consumer driven for reasons of both efficiency and ethics. When in possession of adequate information and faced with appropriate incentives, consumers make better choices for their own health than does any third party, regardless of whether that third party is motivated by the most worthy of intentions.
Monday, August 8, 2009
Some believe that too much competition has been the catalyst for rising health care costs and inefficiency in the American health care market. I disagree. I believe that the U.S. insurance market actually suffers from too little competition.
Monday, February 2, 2010
In the U.S., private-sector insurers hold a powerful monopoly in insurance markets, and this hinders progress. Conversely, in the U.K., it has historically been the government-run hospitals’ monopoly power that was hampering improvements.
Tuesday, March 3, 2010
Health care reform is testing the United State’s capacity to address big issues and has highlighted glaring flaws in the legislative process. What’s clear by now is that it’s tough to boil health care policy down into concise talking points and it’s nearly impossible to sell sensible reforms politically.
Tuesday, June 6, 2010
In Britain, because the NHS is funded by taxation, everyone in the country is required to pay for the cost of medical care. However, the amount each person in Britain pays into the NHS is not proportional to what they take out in the form of services, medications, and care.
Tuesday, July 7, 2010
In the four years since a significant package of health care reforms was enacted in the Netherlands, the Dutch have emerged with a health system that’s innovative, dynamic, and widely viewed by many health policy experts as a blueprint for a high functioning 21st century health care system.
Tuesday, August 8, 2010
Unlike in the U.S., where it’s exceedingly difficult to pass health care legislation, sweeping health care reforms are commonplace in Britain. Because of their parliamentary, winner-takes-all political system, when each new government arrives in power, they almost always introduce broad changes to the National Health Service.
Tuesday, August 8, 2010
Care Oregon, the state’s main Medicaid managed care plan, had two choices a few years ago, after many commercial partners in the Oregon Health Plan decided to get out of the money-draining business. It could go broke. Or it could change its world.
Tuesday, August 8, 2010
Given that the United States has the highest health care costs in the world relative to the size of our economy, it would be hard to argue against the utility of examining where and how our health care dollars are being spent. Finding ways to decrease the cost and burden of health care benefits both patients and the economy.
Tuesday, October 10, 2010
In 2011, health insurance premiums in the United States are going to rise. In all likelihood, the price increase that consumers are going to see isn’t going to be trivial.
Monday, December 12, 2010
Ultimately, the central lesson emerging from Europe at the moment is that within hospital and insurance markets, it often takes more regulation and a more active state in order to create meaningful competition and productive incentives.
Thursday, February 2, 2011
The Obama administration often touts the health-law provision that over the next decade will close the unpopular “doughnut hole”—a gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage. But officials rarely cite another provision, one that might cause sticker shock among some seniors.
Tuesday, February 2, 2011
These days, the most hotly contested element of the health care reform law is the mandate that requires every American to purchase insurance coverage come 2014. The mandate is a lightning rod for criticism and many have expressed hope that the Supreme Court will deem it unconstitutional
Tuesday, March 3, 2011
When consumers and employers pick health plans, some increasingly are being offered a trade-off these days: They can get a hefty break on their premiums if they agree to pay more out-of-pocket when they use certain high-cost providers in their network or if they cut those providers out of their network altogether.
Friday, April 4, 2011
Consumer Reports, which has been rating everything from cars to coffeemakers for the past 75 years, evaluated a different kind of item earlier this year: heart screening tests. The unprecedented move came after the magazine discovered that more than 40 percent of its subscribers had undergone unnecessary heart testing
Thursday, April 4, 2011
Palliative care is the thorough assessment and treatment of symptoms, attention to the whole person and support for the entire journey we each will face at the end of life. We know palliative care helps. Let's make it standard care.
Tuesday, May 5, 2011
Beginning in 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) hands the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services a joystick – the Essential Health Benefits package – with the potential to rocket small-business health insurance premiums skyward.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
In a system that generates income by providing more and more services, the only party currently paying attention to the necessary care question is the government and employers.
Tuesday, May 5, 2011
For the first time, consumers shopping for a health policy will be able to get a good idea of how much of the costs different plans will cover for three medical conditions: maternity care, treatment for diabetes and breast cancer.
Tuesday, May 5, 2011
Bundling provides incentives for providers to differentiate product and price and enables purchasers and payers to compare and contrast offerings.
Tuesday, June 6, 2011
The 2010 health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), hits small business with a barrage of inequities. Among the most egregious is the health insurance tax (HIT) launched by the law’s Section 9010.
Tuesday, June 6, 2011
Starting next March, all insurers and employers will have to make it easier for consumers faced with the ordeal of picking a health plan. Under the 2010 health law, they’ll have to provide health policy information that the average enrollee can understand and use to compare with other plans.
Friday, January 1, 2012

How interested are consumers in the price of health care services? Results from our Consumer Opinion survey indicate that most consumers have never asked about the price of a health care service before getting care.  Fewer than 30 percent asked about price in the past year. Findings like these suggest that consumers are not in the habit of inquiring about cost. Some reasons for this include: not being motivated to ask about price (because someone else pays), not feeling comfortable asking about price, or not feeling certain as to where to get the information. 

Thursday, January 1, 2012
Just as Walmart and other retailers shook up the prescription drug business by offering $4 generic drugs, the industry now aims to apply its negotiating and marketing clout to tackle problems that vex consumers and the health sector: unpredictable costs, a lack of primary care doctors and inefficient management of chronic illnesses, whose costs drive the majority of health care spending.
Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has a thousand pages of moving parts, and the relatively few that have rolled out are shedding sprockets across the landscape. This is deeply worrying, given that the stability of the nation’s health care system depends on the successful construction and launch of a vast fleet of new institutions before New Year’s Day, 2014.

Number-one selling point

Tuesday, April 4, 2012

By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News

Nine prominent physician groups today released lists of 45 common tests and treatments they say are often unnecessary and may even harm patients.

Tuesday, June 6, 2012

By Jay Hancock, Kaiser Health News.

Angela Wenger calls herself a self-reliant “German Midwesterner” who hates to complain. But the Wisconsin mom was dismayed when husband Dan’s employer switched to an insurance plan that increased the family’s medical expenses tenfold.

Tuesday, June 6, 2012

This is the first in a two-part series.

Account-based health plans--health insurance plans paired with health savings accounts (HSA) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRA)--are the fastest growing product in the market for employer-based group health plans. There is no disputing the fact that the number of employers offering group health plan coverage to their employees has declined as the cost of providing coverage has increased. It is my opinion that account-based health plans have helped arrest this decline.

Thursday, June 6, 2012

This is the second in a two-part series. To read the first part, click here.