Canada’s single payer system doesn’t cover drugs?

Yes it is true.  Wang et al. (2015) report: Unlike physician and hospital services, which are universal in Canada, coverage for prescription drugs dispensed outside hospitals falls outside the Canada Health Act and provincial governments only provide public drug programs for some population groups,primarily seniors and social assistance recipients…Canada is still the only country that…

Wages and Benefits

For the past few years, some economists have claims that increases in income inequality are due to increased cost of employee benefits such as health insurance.  For instance, let’s say that health insurance cost $10,000 per worker.  Workers with a wage of $20,000 have total compensation of $30,000 including benefits, and workers with wages of…

Trends in Value-based reimbursement

A McKesson study cites 7 trends in value-based reimbursement: Rapid adoption of VBR. About 90% of payers and 81% of providers are already using some mix of value-based reimbursement (VBR) combined with fee-for-service (FFS). Collaborative regions are more aligned with VBR. Collaborative regions, where one or two payers and providers stand out, are more aligned…

Obamacare premium increases overstated?

Health insurance premiums appear will rise modestly or even decline for many Obamacare plans in state Health Insurance Exchanges.  A RWJ brief reports: Premium increases will be quite low between 2014 and 2015. In the rating areas we examine in the 17 states plus the District of Columbia, six states will have average premium reductions across the carriers’…

Who will pay the Cadillac tax?

Beginning in 2018, many individuals will face the “Cadillac” tax. What is the Cadillac tax? The Cadillac tax is a tax on high-cost health insurance plans. According to a Truven report, it is calculated as “40 percent of the excess of total per employee per year (PEPY) healthcare costs above statutory threshold limits of $10,200…

ACA, Uninsurance and American Cities

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) increased the likelihood individuals have insurance by: (i) offering states money to expand Medicaid eligibility, and (ii) offering individuals subsidies to purchase insurance through newly created health insurance exchanges.  Did it work?  A Robert Wood Johnson report examines at the effect of the ACA on uninsurance rates in 14 large…

A new Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze

Currently, patients entering the health insurance exchanges can choose from platinum, gold, silver and bronze plans.  What is the difference between them?  As the names indicate, platinum has the highest premium and bronze the lowest.  However, bronze plans may be more expensive.  Why is this?  In essence, all the plans cover the same items.  The…

Health Reform in Minnesota

Was health reform successful in Minnesota?  If the metric of interest is reducing the number of uninsured, the answer is certainly yes.  A State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) report finds: The number of uninsured in Minnesota fell from 445,000 (8.2 percent of the population) to about 264,500 (4.9 percent of the population). How…