Trump Executive Order to Mandate Price Transparency for Providers

As the N.Y. Times reports, more transparency is coming to provider prices. The White House released an executive order Monday afternoon intended to require insurance companies, doctors and hospitals to give patients more information about precisely what their care will cost before they get it. More transparency is generally good and surprise billing for out-of-network costs has been a major…

How can we improve mental health services provided by employers?

At the American Psychiatric Association meeting last week, the APAM Center provided some suggestions. AJMC reports that their 5 policy recommendations include: Create action plan to insure network adequacy. “Employers can start by expanding services at the inpatient and outpatient levels, and engaging regional and national organizations to add providers, including specialty providers. They can…

How much would Medicare for all cost?

This is the question the N.Y. Times posed to five experts in the field. Medicare for all could potentially save money. For instance, if the government could reduce administrative cost, cut prices paid to physicians and hospitals, or reduce drug costs. Typically, however, federal government programs rarely save cost and some of the reduction in…

Medicaid expansion and prescription drug use

How did Medicaid expansion affect prescription drug use? At first glance, one would think that prescriptions increased; more insurance lowers patient out-of-pocket cost so we would expect more prescriptions. Medicaid insurance may crowd out other forms of insurance; if those other forms of insurance covered more drugs, then perhaps utilization would go down. A study…

How does the CEA plan to improve health insurance markets

According to a February 2019 report, the Council of Economic Advisors proposes to improve health insurance markets through three key policies: Eliminate the individual mandate Permitting more small businesses to form Association Health Plans Expanding short-term, limited-duration insurance (STLDI) plans The report claims that these changes will generate $450 billion in social surplus over the…

Surprise billing

Let’s say you go to an in-network provider. If you have fairly generous health insurance (i.e., not a high-deductible health plan), one would expect the cost sharing to be fairly modest. That is not always the case. You may be charged out-of-network cost sharing rates through no fault of your own. In a report by…