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Explaining Health Care Reform: What is Health Insurance?

A key element in any comprehensive health reform plan is defining what health insurance is and the amount of insurance coverage people will have. There are two components to that coverage: the types of services covered (e.g., physician care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, etc.), and the cost sharing required of enrollees…

Changes in Health Insurance Status over a Two-Year Period

The ability to maintain health insurance in the face of rising costs and an uncertain economy is a key concern for families and featured prominently in the health reform debate. While the percentage of the population without coverage at any one time changes by only a relatively small amount over…

Survey of People Who Purchase Their Own Insurance

While most people in the U.S. get health insurance through their employer, about 14 million people under age 65 have coverage through the non-group or individual market, which has faced scrutiny recently in news reports about some insurers’ steep rate increases and in the market reforms in the new health…

What the Actuarial Values in the Affordable Care Act Mean

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) establishes four levels of coverage based on the concept of “actuarial value,” which represents the share of health care expenses the plan covers for a typical group of enrollees. As plans increase in actuarial value – bronze, silver, gold, and platinum –…

Issues for Structuring Interim High-Risk Pools

One of the first provisions that would be implemented under federal health reform bills in the House and the Senate would establish a national high-risk pool program to offer coverage to otherwise uninsurable individuals during the interim period between enactment and implementation of broader health care reforms. High-risk pools provide…

Statement of Gary Claxton to NAIC Exchanges (B) Subgroup

Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President Gary Claxton, who directs the Foundation’s Marketplace Policy Project, testified July 22, 2010, at a public hearing before the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Exchanges (B) Subgroup established by the health reform law.  Testimony (.pdf)

Mapping Premium Variation in the Individual Market

This analysis examines how premiums for individual health insurance differ around the nation, finding that premiums can vary substantially from state to state. The average per-person premium in 2010 ranged in cost from approximately $136 per month in Alabama to more than $400 per month in Vermont and Massachusetts. The…

Insurer Rebates under the Medical Loss Ratio: 2012 Estimates

Beginning in 2011, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance plans to pay out a minimum percentage of premium dollars towards health care expenses and quality improvement activities, limiting the amount spent on administrative and marketing costs and profit. Under the law, large group plans are required to spend at…

Quick Take: Timing Matters: States Waiting for a Supreme Court Decision to Plan an Exchange

State-based health insurance exchanges are an important component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) designed to extend subsidized private health insurance coverage to millions of Americans by 2014. Though projections show exchange enrollment could grow to 20 million individuals nationally, aggressive planning on the part of states…

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