Customers’ Laser-Like Focus On Plan Prices Is Causing Concerns In Health Insurance Market
The continuing rise of premiums is causing some experts to worry that more people will refuse to buy insurance and that could lead to a collapse of the market. Meanwhile, insurers are using a mechanism created by the federal health law to help keep prices down to instead justify their premium increases.
The New York Times:
Cost, Not Choice, Is Top Concern Of Health Insurance Customers
It is all about the price. Millions of people buying insurance in the marketplaces created by the federal health care law have one feature in mind. It is not finding a favorite doctor, or even a trusted company. It is how much — or, more precisely, how little — they can pay in premiums each month. And for many of them, especially those who are healthy, all the prices are too high. (Abelson, 8/12)
The New York Times:
Health Insurers Use Process Intended To Curb Rate Increases To Justify Them
After the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2010, it created a review mechanism intended to prevent exorbitant increases in health insurance rates by shaming companies that sought them. But this summer, insurers are turning that process on its head, using it to highlight the reasons they are losing money under the health care law and their case for raising premiums in 2017. (Pear, 8/14)
In other national health care news —
U.S. News & World Report:
Same-Sex Infertility Case Exposes Lack Of Access To Reproductive Treatment
A recent lawsuit involving lesbians in New Jersey who are trying to conceive is highlighting how unaffordable infertility treatments can be – and raising deeper questions about who has the right to assistance in conceiving a child. For many Americans, health insurance does not cover fertility treatment; the few for whom it does are usually in heterosexual marriages. But today's modern family is different: same-sex marriage is legal, the government has lifted its ban on taxpayer dollars going toward gender reassignment surgery and single people choose to become parents on their own. But while these people don't fit the description of traditional parents, is it discrimination not to help them have a child? (Leonard, 8/15)
Most Providers Will Opt To Avoid Too Much Risk Under Medicare's New MACRA Payment System
Hospital boardrooms are beginning to sound more like those on Wall Street, with talk of upside and downside risk, capitation and a hefty addition of new acronyms. Hospitals, health systems and physician groups are now in the process of deciding which of the two possible reimbursement paths they will take under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which replaced the rarely implemented sustainable growth-rate formula for determining physician pay. (Muchmore, 8/13)
Will Your Prescription Meds Be Covered Next Year? Better Check!
The battle continues to rage between drug companies that are trying to make as much money as possible and insurers trying to drive down drug prices. And consumers are squarely in the middle. That's because, increasingly, prescription insurers are threatening to kick drugs off their lists of approved medications if the manufacturers won't give them big discounts. (Kodjak, 8/15)