Are New Yorkers looking at a health insurance tax to pay for the more than $200 million in unpaid doctor and hospital bills remaining after the collapse of the state’s consumer-run nonprofit insurance co-op? Or could that money come from the billions in bank settlements that have flowed to state coffers in recent years?
Those are among the questions that lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo will likely be debating in the upcoming legislative session. Also unclear is the future status of the approximately 215,000 New Yorkers who had low-cost health insurance policies through the short-lived Health Republic co-op.
The Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General found that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS):
• Did not have an effective process in place to ensure that advance premium tax credit (APTC) payments were made only for enrollees who had paid their monthly premiums; instead, CMS relied on each qualified health plan (QHP) issuer to verify that enrollees paid their monthly premiums and to attest that APTC payment information that the issuer reported on its template was accurate; and
• Had sole responsibility for ensuring that APTC payments were made only for confirmed enrollees and did not share these data for enrollees with the IRS when making payments.
The OIG determined that CMS’s processes limited its ability to ensure that APTC payments made to QHP issuers were only for enrollees who had made their premium payments.
Most discussions about insurance costs center around premium increases, or (less often) deductibles. Less often do we here them discussed together. Yet, the combination is a critical factor in determining how illnesses affect the financial well-being of families.
An insured family has to pay its premium regardless of whether or not any claims are made. In addition, a family has to meet its annual deductible before receiving any benefits for treatment of illnesses or injuries. That means a family has to pay the total of the premium plus the deductible before any benefits are payable.
The health insurance industry will be watching and waiting to see if antitrust regulators approve several big insurance mergers, whether the Affordable Care Act’s exchange market grows more sustainable, and whether states adopt new regulations governing provider network adequacy.
Looming above all those issues is the possibility of the election of a Republican president who would seek to jettison the ACA framework and replace it with an entirely different healthcare financing framework.
Poor planning and a “lack of effective leadership” within the state Department of Human Services prevented the department’s $155 million computer system from meeting the goals of the federal Affordable Care Act, according to a report released today by the Hawaii State Auditor.
The system has not been able to meet federal goals of creating a simple, real-time process for enrolling and determining eligibility for coverage, according to the auditor.
Obama administration officials said last month that about 2.5 million new customers had bought insurance through HealthCare.gov since open enrollment began on Nov. 1. The number of new enrollees is 29% higher than last year at this time, suggesting that the threat of a larger penalty may be motivating more people to get covered.
But plenty of healthy holdouts remain, and their resistance helps explain why insurers are worried about the financial viability of the exchanges over time. People who earn too much to qualify for federal subsidies that defray the cost of coverage may be most likely to opt out.
Many insurance companies are losing money selling ObamaCare policies. Unfortunately, the White House wants to make their losses your problem. In December, Congress refused an administration request to provide insurers with $2.5 billion in bailout money to help cover their 2014 losses.
The Obama administration hasn’t given up. It has declared that this $2.5 billion in corporate welfare and potentially billions more for losses insurers have incurred in 2015 is “an obligation of the U.S. government for which full payment is required.”
A new study reveals that many ObamaCare customers pay more than 10% of their incomes toward coverage. And the share of income eaten up can be much greater for some people, particularly if they use a lot of health services under their plan.
One in 10 ObamaCare customers who earn between just two and five times the federal poverty level will have coverage costs that exceed 21% of their incomes, an analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute found.
The Urban Institute examines premiums and out-of-pocket costs, as well as total financial burdens for individuals with different characteristics enrolled in ACA-compliant nongroup coverage. Findings show that despite the financial assistance available, individuals across the income distribution who are ineligible for Medicaid can still face very high expenditures.
Even with federal government subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, a typical American buying coverage on public exchanges spends about one in 10 dollars they earn “on insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs,”according to a new analysis.
Research from the Urban Institute shows typical single enrollees with incomes between $23,540 and $58,850 spend 10% of their incomes on premiums and out-of-pocket costs and the percentage rises if the enrollee has more medical needs.