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 …

At Your Fingertips: A Trove of Data on Boomers and Americans 50-Plus

We are a data-driven society. We need data to address the challenges and opportunities facing the 50-plus population. I am pleased to announce that today AARP’s Public Policy Institute launched the AARP DataExplorer, a free website tool that provides a rich collection of data on issues relevant to people age 50 and older. The 50-plus group accounts for a third of the United States’ population, with about 110 million people. People in the baby boom generation make up 80 million …

Looking beyond Medicare lifetime taxes and benefits

You may have seen the reports (2012 update and Alternative Assumptions) by Eugene Steuerle and Caleb Quakenbush from the Urban Institute showing lifetime taxes paid and benefits received from Social Security and Medicare. The authors estimate that an average male who earns the average wage during his working years and turns 65 in 2020 will pay $77,000 in Medicare taxes and receive $232,000 in Medicare benefits. These numbers vary by gender, marital status, age, and year in which the person …