Study: Suffering Increasing at the End of Life

It’s been more than 15 years since the Institute of Medicine released its seminal 1997 report detailing the suffering many Americans experience at the end of life and offering sweeping recommendations on how to improve care. So has dying in America gotten any less painful? Despite efforts to build hospice and palliative-care programs across the country, the answer seems to be a resounding no. The number of Americans experiencing pain in the last year of life actually increased by nearly …

Poll: If Court Rules Against Obamacare Subsidies, Most Want Them Restored

A new poll finds that most people think Congress or states should act to restore health insurance subsidies if the Supreme Court decides later this year they are not permitted in states where the federal government is running the marketplace. The court in March is set to hear King v. Burwell, a lawsuit arguing that the wording of the Affordable Care Act means that financial assistance with premiums is available in only the 13 states that created and are running …

Where Health Insurance Prices Are Highest and Lowest

In health insurance prices, as in the weather, Alaska and the Sun Belt are extremes. This year Alaska is the most expensive health insurance market for people who do not get coverage through their employers, while Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., and Tucson, Ariz., are among the very cheapest. In this second year of the insurance marketplaces created by the federal health law, the most expensive premiums are in rural spots around the nation: Wyoming, rural Nevada, patches of inland California and …

Survey: Most Buyers on Insurance Exchanges Were Uninsured

By Julie Appleby, KHN Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News Nearly 6 in 10 Americans who bought insurance for this year through the health law’s online marketplaces were previously uninsured – most for at least two years, according to a new survey that looks at the experiences of those most affected by the law. That finding is higher than some earlier estimates and counters arguments made by critics of the law that most of those who purchased the new policies were previously insured. The survey also found that consumers …

Study: Health Providers Often Rewarded for Volume Over Value

By Russ Mitchell for Kaiser Health News. This story was produced in collaboration with USA Today For decades, reformers have sought to change how doctors and hospitals are paid to reward quality and efficiency – efforts that accelerated as a result of the health care overhaul. But surprisingly little progress has been made to date, a consortium of large employers reported today. Only 10.9 percent of health care spending last year by employer-sponsored plans was based on “value,” as opposed to …

Study Finds Premium Support Plan Could Raise Medicare Premiums In Many Parts of Country

By Jordan Rau, Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News The type of proposal championed by Republicans to overhaul Medicare by giving beneficiaries a fixed amount of money to purchase insurance could lead to significant increases in premium costs in some parts of the country, according to a new study. If the plan had been in place in 2010, six in 10 Medicare beneficiaries – about 25 million people both in traditional Medicare and in private Medicare Advantage plans – would have …