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Getting Connected: Can the ACA Improve Access to Health Care in Rural Communities?

Residents of rural communities face unique health care challenges, including fewer health care providers, higher rates of chronic disease, and lower adoption rates of health information technology. This October 13 briefing, cosponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform and the United Health Foundation, looked at the many provisions in the…

Health Affairs Article: Medicaid Expansion Under Health Reform May Increase Service Use and Improve Access For Low-Income Adults With Diabetes

This analysis finds that Medicaid’s role in financing diabetes care will grow when many low-income uninsured people with diabetes become eligible for Medicaid as the program expansions under the Affordable Care Act in 2014. Adult Medicaid beneficiaries with diabetes had annual per person health expenditures more than three times higher…

The Out-of-Pocket Cost Burden for Specialty Drugs in Medicare Part D in 2019

Medicare Part D has helped to make prescription drugs more affordable for people with Medicare, yet many beneficiaries continue to face high out-of-pocket costs for their medications. Specialty tier drugs are a particular concern for Part D enrollees in this context. This analysis draws on data from Medicare’s Plan Finder website to calculate expected annual 2019 out-of-pocket costs for 30 specialty tier drugs used to treat four health conditions—cancer, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Medicaid’s New “Health Home” Option

This brief provides key information about the new option for state Medicaid programs to provide “health home” services for enrollees with chronic conditions. The option, established under the new health reform law, took effect on Jan. 1, 2011. Health homes are designed to facilitate access to and coordination of the…

The Diseases We Spend Our Health Dollars On

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman explains how a recent Bureau of Economic Analysis report makes the nation’s health care spending more tangible by breaking it down by disease.

Loneliness and Social Isolation in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan: An International Survey

To understand more about how people view the issue of loneliness and social isolation, the Kaiser Family Foundation, in partnership with The Economist, conducted a cross-country survey of adults in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. The survey included additional interviews with individuals who report always or often feeling lonely, left out, isolated or that they lack companionship to better understand the personal characteristics and life circumstances associated with these feelings, the reported causes of loneliness, and how people are coping. More than a fifth of adults in the United States and the United Kingdom as well as one in ten adults in Japan say they often or always feel lonely, feel that they lack companionship, feel left out, or feel isolated from others, and many of them say their loneliness has had a negative impact on various aspects of their life. About six in ten say there is a specific cause of their loneliness, and they are also more likely to report experiencing negative life events in the past two years, such as a negative change in financial status. Those reporting loneliness in each country report having fewer confidants than others and two-thirds or more say they have just a few or no relatives or friends living nearby who they can rely on for support. Many in the U.S. and U.K. view the increased use of technology as a major reason why people are lonely or socially isolated, whereas fewer people in Japan say the same. But, for those experiencing loneliness or social isolation personally, they are divided as to whether they think social media makes their feelings of loneliness better or worse.

Medicare Part D Enrollees with Serious Health Conditions Can Face Thousands of Dollars in Out-of-Pocket Costs Annually for Specialty Drugs

Despite Medicare’s protections, Part D enrollees with serious health conditions can face thousands of dollars in annual out-of-pocket costs for expensive specialty drugs, a new KFF anaylsis finds. The analysis draws on data from Medicare’s Plan Finder website to calculate expected annual 2019 costs for more than two dozen specialty tier…

The Silent Affordability Crisis Facing Sick People

In this Axios column, Drew Altman shows that employer coverage for lower wage workers is much worse than ACA marketplace coverage for similar populations. It’s a bigger problem we need to talk about more, he says.