Barriers to Voting in Elections Linked to Increased Odds of Being Uninsured

Groups commonly targeted by voting restriction laws—those with low incomes, who are racial minorities, and who are young—are also less likely to be insured in states with more voting restrictions, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and University of Alberta School of Public Health, Edmonton, Canada.

AMA Passes ACR-Led Resolution Opposing Paying Patients to Switch Treatments

The American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates passed a resolution developed by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) to oppose insurance companies providing financial incentives for patients to switch from their prescribed treatment to a payer-preferred treatment.

Though ‘unsurprising,’ U.S. Supreme Court decision on Affordable Care Act a relief for many

The United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, should not come as a total surprise despite the conservative efforts to invalidate the law, according to West Virginia University policy and legal experts.…

Endocrine Society celebrates Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act

The Endocrine Society today praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, which makes health care accessible to millions of individuals nationwide, including those with hormone health conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis, thyroid conditions, and breast and prostate cancer.

American Society of Anesthesiologists Makes Recommendations to Biden Admin.: Implement ‘No Surprises Act’ Equitably Without Improper Advantage to Health Insurers

Today, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) requested the Biden administration include a series of recommendations in its regulations to implement the “No Surprises Act,” the new federal surprise medical bill law, that will be implemented on January 1, 2022. ASA’s recommendations aim to ensure that the law is implemented fairly and equitably without improper benefit to health insurance companies.

Even small bills for health insurance may cause healthy low-income people to drop coverage

Twenty dollars a month might not seem like a lot to pay for health insurance. But for people getting by on $15,000 a year, it’s enough to make some drop their coverage – especially if they’re healthy. That could keep them from getting preventive or timely care, and could leave their insurance company with a sicker pool of patients than before.

Magnitude and Effects of “Sludge” in Benefits Administration: How Health Insurance Hassles Burden Workers and Cost Employers

Administrative burdens may have substantial direct and indirect costs for employers and employees, making them important research topics. In this research, Stanford Graduate School of Business Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior Jeffrey Pfeffer, along with Dan Witters,…

What’s at stake in the Supreme Court’s ACA case? A quick explainer

Though the election and pandemic have eclipsed it in the news, there’s another event unfolding that could affect nearly all Americans: a Supreme Court case that will decide the future of the Affordable Care Act. A health policy researcher explains what would happen if it’s overturned.

Eleven Provider and Patient Organizations Join the American College of Rheumatology to Oppose UnitedHealthcare Copay Accumulator Initiative

Eleven provider and patient organizations have joined the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) to petition UnitedHealthcare (UHC) to cancel plans to implement a proposed copay accumulator initiative that would require physicians to share details about their patients’ usage of copay assistance programs. The initiative would prevent funds from assistance programs from being applied towards patients’ annual deductible and out-of-pocket maximums. The groups warn that this would jeopardize patient access to medically necessary therapies by increasing the financial burden of care and lead to an increase in treatment abandonment.

Many medical “rainy day” accounts aren’t getting opened or filled, study finds

One-third of the people who could benefit from a special type of savings account to cushion the blow of their health plan deductible aren’t doing so, according to a new study. And even among people who do open a health savings account (HSA), half haven’t put any money into it in the past year.

COVID-19 Care is (Mostly) Free to Patients. Should Other Vital Care Be Too?

This spring health insurance companies, large employers, and state and federal governments, pivoted rapidly to make COVID-19 tests, treatments and even future vaccines free, or nearly free, for the people covered by their plans. A team that has worked for years to make the same true for other types of care says this is a crucial time to expand that effort.

ASA Urges Secretary Azar to Implement a Moratorium on Health Insurer Contract Cancellations and Reinstatement of Cancelled Physician Contracts

Health insurance companies around the country are using aggressive negotiating tactics to terminate physician contracts, forcing physicians out of network with little or no notice and increasing the likelihood that patients will receive surprise medical bills. The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has implored Alex M. Azar II, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to press insurers to reinstate terminated contracts and to implement a moratorium on cancellations and terminations during this national health emergency.

Sky-high surprise bills from air ambulance flights possible for many patients

When an emergency dispatcher calls for a helicopter to fly a critically ill patient to a hospital, they don’t have time to check whether they take the patient’s insurance. But after those patients land, 72% of them could face a potential “surprise bill” because their ambulance provider isn’t “in network” with their insurance, a new study of people with private insurance finds. So could 79% of those transported via ground ambulance.

ACA has helped protect low-income patients from catastrophic spending for surgery

n the years after 2014, when the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces were established, low-income patients who underwent a surgical procedure saved an average of $601 in out-of-pocket spending and $968 in premium spending per year, compared to before the marketplaces existed. Those low-income patients also had a 35% lower chance of having catastrophic levels of household medical spending.

However, for middle-income patients, spending levels were about the same before and after the marketplaces began.

Affordable Care Act helped make health insurance access more equal, but racial and ethnic gaps remain

As the Affordable Care Act turns 10, a new study shows it has narrowed racial and ethnic gaps in access to health insurance – but definitely not eliminated them.
Both the percentage of people 19-64 who lacked health insurance, and the size of the health insurance gap between white, African-American and Hispanic Americans, shrank. From 2013 to 2017, the gap between blacks and whites narrowed 45%, and the difference between Hispanics and whites narrowed 35%.

1 in 5 operations may lead to surprise bills, even when surgeon & hospital are in-network

As if recovering from surgery wasn’t hard enough, a new study shows that one in five operations could result in an unwelcome surprise: a bill for hundreds or thousands of dollars that the patient didn’t know they might owe.
On average, that potential surprise bill added up to $2,011. That’s on top of the nearly $1,800 the average privately insured patient would already owe after it paid for most of the costs of their operation.

Middle-Aged Adults Worried About Health Insurance Costs Now, Uncertain for Future

Health insurance costs weigh heavily on the minds of many middle-aged adults, and many are worried for what they’ll face in retirement or if federal health policies change, according to a new study. More than a quarter of people in their 50s and early 60s lack confidence that they’ll be able to afford health insurance in the next year, and the number goes up to nearly half when they look ahead to retirement.

WHEN CAREGIVERS NEED CARE

People who regularly care for or assist a family member or friend with a health problem or disability are more likely to neglect their own health, particularly by not having insurance or putting off necessary health services due to cost, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association.

Out-of-network costs soar for non-emergency hospitalizations

The out-of-pocket financial burden for insured working Americans is substantial and growing – especially when it comes to out-of-network, non-emergency hospital care, a new study has found. Researchers at The Ohio State University analyzed claims from more than 22 million enrollees in private insurance plans and found that out-of-pocket costs for non-emergency out-of-network hospital care nearly doubled in five years.