Julie Ferguson did an outstanding job with this week’s Health Wonk Review, and it’s full of great articles from our favorite health wonks.
A must-read is Charles Gaba’s excellent run-down on what you need to know about rate increase filings. Gaba’s is the wizard behind ACAsignups.net, and he does an outstanding job of crunching up a whole bunch of numbers and turning them into something that makes sense even to people who don’t live and breathe the ACA. Rate filings are starting to be published in some states, and that will continue over the next few months. We’ll start to see approved 2016 rates being published as the summer goes on, and Charles has summed up all of the things that we need to keep in mind when rate changes are published. In short, we need a whole lot more than just the headline to know what’s going on with rates in each state. And as a sidenote, keep in mind that the rate proposals that are currently being filed do not take into account a possible win for the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell. If that happens, it will be a very long summer for the folks who review rate filings in the states that use Healthcare.gov (thankfully, Colorado has its own exchange, so we don’t have to worry about King v. Burwell here).
David Williams has an interesting article in the HWR, with his take on the report that emergency room utilization has increased over the last two years. Williams’ makes a great point: insured patients are more likely to use the ER than uninsured patients. Now that we have more insured patients, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that ER visits have increased. I wrote about this issue a few years ago, noting that a CU study had predicted ER utilization to increase over the coming decade, due in large part to the significant increase in Medicaid enrollment that was expected.
There are plenty of other great articles in this edition of the Health Wonk Review, so head on over to check it out!