By now, I think most of our readers are aware that Colorado is one of the states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, and that exchange subsidy eligibility begins where Medicaid eligibility ends – there is no overlap. Households with incomes up to 133% of poverty level (actually 138%, because the law has a built-in 5%… Read more about Colorado CHP+ and exchange subsidy eligibility
Affordable Care Act (ACA)
Julie Ferguson hosted the Health Wonk Review this week, and it’s a great edition. One of my favorite articles this time around is from Patrick Pine, writing at Healthcare Talent Transformation. Patrick digs into the question of why there were so many exchange website troubles last fall – some of which are ongoing nine months later…. Read more about Exchange website troubles and Medicaid expansion in the HWR
Open enrollment – including extensions – in the individual health insurance market officially ended more than two months ago, on April 15 in most states, including Colorado. Connect for Health Colorado gave enrollees until the end of May to enroll if they were still waiting for a Medicaid denial as of the end of March,… Read more about Health Insurance Enrollment Continues to Climb, Despite Being in the “Off-Season”
Joe Paduda did an outstanding job with this week’s Health Wonk Review – head over and check it out, and I promise you’ll learn something new. Some of my favorites in this edition are from Harold Pollack and David Cutler, Brad Wright, and Roy Poses. Harold and David have a really interesting conversation about healthcare costs and… Read more about Healthcare costs, Mitch McConnell confused, and over-hyped Sovaldi
Several times in the last few days, I’ve seen versions of an article titled something like this one – “New Obamacare loophole shows failure of for-profit health system.” Another is titled “In health care, ‘reference pricing’ could end up costing unwary consumers thousands of dollars.” Scary stuff, huh? Except really, it’s not. Here’s the FAQ… Read more about Reference pricing: Not as scary as it sounds
Earlier this spring, Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), proposed adding another level of coverage to the currently available metal options. Some have referred to it as a “copper” plan, and it would offer lesser benefits than bronze plans, but would also come with lower price tags. Ignagni referenced the ACA… Read more about Copper health insurance plans aren’t for everyone, but it would make sense to have them as an option
Jason Shafrin, aka The Healthcare Economist, hosted the Health Wonk Review today, and it’s an excellent edition. Some of my favorite articles in this HWR are from Harold Pollack, Tim Jost, and Joe Paduda. Writing at HealthInsurance.org, Harold takes a look at the recent Annals of Internal Medicine study that dug into the data to see how… Read more about Study analysis and data summaries from some of the best health wonks around
Although I typically focus my articles on issues that directly impact the Colorado health insurance market, I recently read an article in the Jackson, MS Clarion Ledger and felt compelled to address some of the issues it presents. The article was written in late April, after the open enrollment extension for 2014 had ended. It’s… Read more about ACA articles that lack details are often more spin than reality
In Colorado, the snow is melting and the flowers are blooming. The health wonks around the blog world have given us an excellent collection of articles this week, many with suggestions of ways the ACA could be improved. Our favorite part of hosting the HWR is reading all of the different perspectives that the writers… Read more about Ways the ACA Could Be Improved Edition of the Health Wonk Review
Short term health insurance plans don’t have an open enrollment period Short term health insurance plans may be the best option if you missed open enrollment and you don’t have a qualifying event. Get short term health insurance quotes Qualifying events include marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, moving to a new area where different plans are… Read more about Short term health insurance is your best option if you missed open enrollment
Billy Wynne hosted the most recent edition of the Health Wonk Review, and it’s excellent. Billy’s website, Healthcare Lighthouse, is an excellent resource that I found thanks to this HWR – check it out if you haven’t already. Some of my favorite articles in this edition come from Wendell Potter, Julie Ferguson and Brad Flansbaum…. Read more about ACA here to stay, workplace safety, and a decrease in inpatient care
Last November, the 2013 Colorado Health Access Survey was released with a variety of updated data, including the number of Colorado residents who were uninsured in 2013: about 741,000. That was down from 829,000 two years earlier, but is still 14% of our state population. And it doesn’t include the people who are considered underinsured… Read more about Colorado making great progress covering the uninsured and underinsured
Back in October, six months probably seemed like plenty of time to have open enrollment for health insurance in 2014. And for all the procrastinators out there – you know who you are! – there was always tomorrow. But we’re now down to just one week remaining in open enrollment. The good news is that… Read more about Connect for Health Colorado Updates On The End Of Open Enrollment for Health Insurance in 2014
Brad Wright hosted the most recent Health Wonk Review at his excellent blog, Wright on Health, and it’s a must-read. Or in some cases, a must-watch. Check out healthpolicy.tv, a resource submitted to the HWR by Jared Rhoads. Plenty of good stuff on there, with viewpoints from a variety of political perspectives. And also don’t… Read more about Health Wonk Review at Wright on Health
As we head into the final few weeks of open enrollment, there’s likely to be a surge of applications both on an off the exchange. And that means an uptick in phone calls to carriers and brokers, ID cards and policies being mailed out, premium payments being processed… all of the things that go along… Read more about Wouldn’t it be more efficient to spread ACA open enrollment across the whole year?
By February 17, Connect for Health Colorado had enrolled 79,779 people in private health insurance plans, and another 128,219 in Medicaid. Prior to the start of open enrollment, CMS published monthly enrollment targets for each state – based on those numbers, Colorado’s target for the end of February was 73,600 people enrolled in private plans…. Read more about Connect for Health Colorado Exceeding Enrollment Targets
Colorado residents only: Compare how each health insurance company covers your medication with our exclusive Colorado prescription drug formulary transparency tool. Opponents of the ACA have raised the issue of drug formularies as a negative aspect of the new ACA-compliant plans, complaining that the new plans won’t cover all of the medications people need. Just like many of their… Read more about Understanding Drug Formularies On New Individual Health Insurance Plans In Colorado
Between December 29 and January 31, Connect for Health Colorado enrolled 19,502 people in private qualified health plans. When HHS released their December report last month, Colorado’s total enrollment in QHPs was just over 50,000 people. That number had climbed to nearly 70,000 people by the end of January. Total enrollment at the end of… Read more about Connect for Health Colorado Enrollment Update And Upcoming Deadlines
Last week, the CBO released a report that sent the internet into paroxysms of spin. Initially – and much to the delight of ACA opponents – numerous media outlets reported that the CBO was predicting a loss of more than 2 million jobs over the next decade as a result of the ACA. Then they… Read more about It’s Not Just About Supply And Demand For Labor – The ACA Makes Life Better, Increases Choices
I recently wrote an article responding to the Americans for Prosperity video about Emilie Lamb that has been making its way around the internet. I spoke with Emilie and took a good look at the plan she used to have, comparing it with her new Platinum plan. To sum it up, her old plan was… Read more about Future Healthcare Expenses Will Not Necessarily Mirror Past Expenses
Brad Wright hosted the latest Health Wonk Review over at Wright on Health, and it’s full of great stuff. First, congratulations to Brad on the recent expansion of his blog team! His site has always been stellar, and now it’s growing from two writers to four, with expanded topics and coverage of healthcare issues. And… Read more about The ACA getting the job done, and a great Health Wonk Review
Many of the health insurance regulations in the ACA have made it easier to compare apples to apples in the individual health insurance market. There are no more “junk” plans with low benefit maximums or major holes in the coverage. All policies cover maternity (although that has been the case in Colorado since 2011). Preventive care is covered before the deductible with no copays or coinsurance. All policies must cover the essential health benefits with no annual or lifetime maximums (there can still be limits on the number of visits for some treatments). And all policies must have out-of-pocket maximums of no more than $6350 ($12,700 family) in 2014.
Other than Catastrophic plans, which are available for people under 30 and those who have a hardship exemption from the exchange, which includes people who had a 2013 policy that was terminated in December, all policies available in Connect for Health Colorado (and off-exchange too) fall into one of four categories: bronze, silver, gold or platinum (virtually all of them are bronze, silver or gold though). Also, Catastrophic plans aren’t significantly less expensive in Colorado. The designation is based on the actuarial value of each policy. Bronze plans cover roughly 60% of costs; silver, 70%; gold, 80%; and platinum, 90%. After the maximum out-of-pocket is met, all policies cover 100% of covered costs (with some rare exceptions, such as policies that put an annual limit on the number of covered visits for services like home healthcare and skilled nursing).
But comparing apples to apples still takes quite a bit of reading. Within each metal level, there’s a wide variety of different plans available from the many different carriers offering policies in the exchange (Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Colorado HealthOP, Elevate by Denver Health, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, Rocky Mountain Health Plans, United Health). Networks vary considerably, but so do the plan designs
Welcome to the Healthcare Social Media Review! We’re honored to be hosting this edition. Social media use continues to increase at a dizzying pace, and the healthcare world faces unique opportunities and challenges in utilizing it. There is tremendous potential for improved health, better medical awareness, and increased patient satisfaction if social media is used… Read more about Health Care Social Media Review – New Year, New Opportunities, New Challenges
Today, January 10th, is the payment deadline for most Connect for Health Colorado policies with January 1 effective dates. A few carriers have pushed the deadline out a little bit: Updated Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is moving the payment deadline to 1/31 for 1/1 effective dates. Delta Dental: January 15. Premier Access Dental… Read more about Carrier Contact Information And Updates For People Who Need To Pay January’s Premium
Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) are one of the most important aspects of the ACA’s transformation of the individual health insurance market (they also apply in the small group market, but group policies have historically been more benefit-rich than plans sold in the individual market). In the past, insurers were given tremendous leeway in plan design;… Read more about What Is An Essential Health Benefit (EHB)?