How to drop the individual mandate and avoid the collapse of the private health insurance market

Today, the Supreme Court is deciding  whether to let many of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ACA, a.k.a. Health Reform, a.k.a. Obamacare) stand.  One of the key provisions is the individual mandate.  The individual mandate requires all individuals to purchase health insurance.  If you don’t buy health insurance, you must pay a…

Does California really love Managed Care?

In short, yes. California is the land of managed care. Kaiser-Permanente–the managed care poster child–owns one third of the market.  Love for managed care is not just in the private market; in 2010, over half of all Medi-Cal and more than one-third of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in managed care plans.  Further, California managed care…

Industry Consolidation

Last year, I mentioned how ACO requirements will lead to more industry consolidation.  A recent article by the Economist is finding that my prediction is becoming a reality. “Cigna, an insurer based in Connecticut, said it would pay $3.8 billion for HealthSpring, which offers services and insurance to the elderly. It is the latest deal…

State Governments Providing Health Insurance to More Children

Of the 6.6 million uninsured children in the nation, 4.3 million are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Approximately 2.8 million children come from families at or near the federal poverty line (FPL). Despite the fact that millions of children are uninsured, children’s participation rates in Medicaid/CHIP are increasing. Today I…

Health Insurance Snapshot for 2009

There are approximately 265 million individuals in the United States under age 65 in 2009.  Using the 2010 March Current Population Survey (CPS) data, the employee benefits research institute provides the insurance coverage breakdowns. Employer-sponsored group plan: 156.1 million (59.0 percent) Insurance bought directly from insurer on individual market: 16.7 million (6.3 percent) Medicaid: 44.1…

Employers Pushing Healthier Living

“This isn’t about big brother telling people what to do,” says John Rice, GE’s vice-chairman, “but helping them make better choices.” The Economist reviews large employers efforts to improve employee health and thus decrease their own health care costs.  Some of these efforts include: Prohibiting smoking on company premises Handing our healthy recipes Building on-site…