Policy Watch

Quick-hitting policy analysis, polling, and updates on the key issues facing the country.

Examining Prior Authorization in Health Insurance

This post explains what’s known about how insurers use prior authorization as a tool to control costs and encourage cost-effective care, the state and federal laws that govern it, and ongoing policy debates over efforts to impose standards to limit or regulate its use.

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For ACA Enrollees, How Much Premiums Rise Next Year is Mostly up to Congress

Health insurers are now submitting to state regulators proposed 2023 premiums for plans offered on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces. Changes in these unsubsidized premiums attract a lot of attention, but what really matters most to the people buying coverage is how much they pay out of their own pockets. And the amount ACA Marketplace enrollees pay is largely determined by the size of their premium tax credit. Generally speaking, when unsubsidized premiums rise, so do the premium tax credits, meaning out-of-pocket premium payments hold mostly steady for people getting financial assistance.

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Employer Coverage of Travel Costs for Out-of-State Abortion

This Policy Watch gives an overview of employers offering to cover travel expenses for workers who need to go out of state for an abortion in the context of increasing restrictions on abortion around the country. We discuss who is offering these benefits, the implications for workers, and some of the legal and political concerns for employers.

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Without Build Back Better, Will the End of the Public Health Emergency Leave Even More People Uninsured?

Continuous enrollment in Medicaid and enhanced premium assistance have helped millions afford and maintain coverage, but those gains could be reversed as the public emergency ends and if the provisions like those in the Build Back Better Act fail to pass.

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Medicaid Financing and the U.S. Territories: Implications of The Build Back Better Act

The U.S territories have faced an array of longstanding fiscal and health challenges that were exacerbated by recent natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy watch examines how Medicaid funding for the territories works, the current allotments, and how the Build Back Better Act (BBA) would change Medicaid funding for the territories going forward. While a version of BBBA has passed the house, its fate in the Senate remains uncertain.

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Are Medicare Advantage Insurers Covering the Cost of At-Home COVID-19 Tests?

The Biden Administration’s requirement for private insurers to cover the cost of at-home rapid COVID-19 tests for their enrollees does not apply to Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans (offered by private insurers) have the option to cover at-home tests but are not required to do so. This policy watch examines whether some of the largest private Medicare Advantage plans are covering the cost of at-home rapid tests for COVID-19.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.