Graham-Cassidy Would Weaken Protections for Older Adults and People with Preexisting Conditions

A late-breaking attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) threatens to weaken critical federal consumer protections and raise costs for older Americans ages 50-64 who purchase health insurance coverage in the individual market. Tucked into the sweeping legislation known as the Graham-Cassidy bill are provisions allowing states to receive waivers from crucial consumer protections. Such waivers could allow insurance companies to increase costs for older consumers based on their health, preexisting conditions, and age–potentially putting health coverage …

Under the Senate Health Bill, All Older Adults Would Pay Much More for Individual Health Coverage

The just-released Senate bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), is very bad news for older adults. The bill would reduce financial assistance (premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies) and change rules on how much premiums can vary by age (age rating). As a result, people ages 50 to 64 would have to pay thousands of dollars more in premiums to buy health insurance in the individual (nongroup) market. Here are four ways the bill would increase the cost of …

Stability Fund Won’t Keep Premiums From Going Through the Roof for People With Preexisting Conditions

The American Health Care Act (AHCA), H.R.1628, allows states to create high-risk pools for people with preexisting health conditions under certain circumstances. High-risk pools are supposed to provide access to health insurance for people who cannot get coverage in the individual (non-group) health insurance market. In a previous analysis, we noted that states have never funded high-risk pools adequately. The result: A small number of consumers paid very high premiums for skimpy coverage. Many others went without health insurance because …

If You Get Health Insurance From Your Job, the Health Care Debate’s Outcome Could Still Hurt You

People with health insurance through large employers may assume the outcome of the current health debate won’t affect them. But it can. To start, yesterday the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that 3 million people would lose employer-based insurance coverage as a result of changes proposed in the American Health Care Act (AHCA). But the bill’s harmful effects would reach far beyond those 3 million people; in fact, virtually everyone is vulnerable. Here’s how: In times of change, people turn …

Stars for Hospital Quality, Help for Consumers

  There’s good news for consumers interested in taking more control of their health care. On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released quality star ratings for U.S. hospitals, an online resource for consumers. With this release, consumers and family caregivers will have an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand tool to help them evaluate the quality of hospitals. The star rating provides a summary of a hospital’s performance on over 60 quality measures reported on CMS’ Hospital Compare website, in …

Medicare and Private Health Plans Agree to Common Standards to Evaluate Doctors: Why This Is Good News for Consumers

For over a year, a multi-stakeholder group composed of Medicare administrators, doctors, private health plan representatives, consumer groups and employers has worked together to figure out a uniform way to rate doctors’ performance. Today, the group announced agreement on a core set of quality measures that Medicare and private health insurance plans will phase in to evaluate doctors. Medicare and many private plans are transitioning to a new way to pay doctors: paying them based on the quality of their work, rather than …