2017 Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Results

medical cost, stethoscope on dollar banknote money. concept of health care costs, finance, health insurance fund.

Kaiser has just published its 2017 annual benefits survey and I think the folks in Washington, D.C. all need a copy. Approximately half of the United States’ non-elderly population gets healthcare coverage through their employer, so this survey reveals what many Americans are experiencing. While employer coverage is far better, in many respects, than the coverage… [Read More]

McKinsey Study Is the Latest Evidence That Obamacare Is Not Working

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After years of politically biased pontification, likely created by the effects of the ACA, the last few weeks have been littered with actual data-driven evidence on performance. And the news has not been good – that is, depending on your definition of success. Some industry experts seem to have very mixed measures of success that… [Read More]

Examining Multi-Tiered Networks to Minimize Premiums and Foster Consumerism

Examining Multi-Tiered Networks

As health insurance premiums, copays and deductibles become unbearable, we’re often faced with clients who feel completely out of options during renewal conversations. They don’t want to switch carriers, but are out of levers to pull in order to control costs. Now we’re seeing carriers step in with an interesting solution: multi-tiered networks that align… [Read More]

Reality Setting In – Health Co-ops Failure

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CoOportunity Health, a not-for-profit cooperative insurer, has failed in Iowa and Nebraska. It is unlikely that the government will recover any of the $146 million in low-cost loans provided to support this ACA-spawned venture. The market is in chaos and the CoOportunity policyholders are scrambling to get claims covered during this time of disarray. While assured… [Read More]

SCOTUS Ruling Can Undermine ACA

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Next week, SCOTUS will be hearing King v. Burwell, a potentially watershed case for the Affordable Care Act, which will rule on the legality of allowing subsidies on the federally sponsored health insurance exchanges. The language of the ACA provides that the only place where governments can award advance tax credits is for coverage purchased… [Read More]

Healthcare Cost Pressure Lessened, but It’s Coming Back

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The Kaiser Family Foundation has released its latest healthcare cost update. Average premium growth for family coverage is up only 3% over last year. However, as we know, real medical inflation is significantly higher.  How was this accomplished? Deductibles have been increased to an average of $1,217 for single coverage. And in reducing premiums, employers… [Read More]

Taxation Ahead – Limiting Health Premium Tax Deductibility

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The big golden goose in paying for government’s healthcare costs is tax deductibility of health insurance premiums. The idea of limiting, or even eliminating, deductibility is often discussed because it solves a lot. However, when the fog clears, legislators realize that this will give an inducement to employers to head to the hills and discontinue… [Read More]

Flash News: 2015 Rates Going Up, System Becoming Even More Complex

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Recently I was quoted in Employee Benefit Adviser magazine about requested increases on the New York State health insurance exchange. In what is turning into an annual dance, insurers have requested an average increase of 14.6%. When the reporter called, I paused to consider the irony. New York insureds would not take an increase of this… [Read More]

Insurers Rapidly Transforming to Survive and Thrive

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Insurers are quickly making changes that will ensure their viability for the long term. In response to the never-ending challenge of escalating costs, many changes were already underway before the Affordable Care Act. Some are the result of the marketplace evolution toward more consumer involvement, which the ACA has accelerated. Long functioning in the B2B… [Read More]

A Tale of Two Cities: Healthcare Inflation vs. Healthcare Premiums

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PWC, in its 2014 healthcare survey, reports medical inflation at 6.5%, the lowest level in years. Consumerism is working; patients are actually looking at bills and questioning reimbursement. Hospitals and other providers are under intense pressure to control costs. System intermediaries (like brokers and insurance carriers) are being squeezed. Many blockbuster drugs are moving to generic… [Read More]