Study: Healthcare Costs Will Remain Low In Coming Years

According to a new study by the Urban Institute, healthcare costs will continue to remain low in years to come, “with the Affordable Care Act playing some yet-to-be fully defined role.” Between 2014 and 2019, CMS projects $2.5 trillion less in public and private healthcare spending compared to projections made earlier by the agency. Over the 2014-2019 period, Medicare spending is expected to decrease by $384 billion, Medicaid by $927 billion, and private health insurance by $688 billion compared to the September 2010 ACA baseline. Originally, the baseline projected spending will total $23 trillion between 2010 and 2019. CMS now says it’s at $21 trillion. The report credits the ACA and new legislation for the trend.

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Health Insurance Marketplace Offering Tools To Help Consumers Review Their Plan Options For 2015

Consumers can visit HealthCare.gov to review detailed information about all the health insurance plans offered in their area before applying ahead of open enrollment on November 15. This year, consumers will find more affordable options for themselves and their families due to more insurers offering coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. After answering a few simple questions, consumers will be able to compare plans and get an estimate on how much financial assistance they may qualify for when shopping for coverage without submitting an application.

Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins Saturday, November 15, 2014 and runs through Sunday, February 15, 2015.

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Providers, Insurers Partnering To Launch Narrow-Network Plans

Across the country, providers and insurers are partnering to launch narrow-network plans. In some cases, these healthcare systems and insurers will offer the narrow-network plans on state exchanges with monthly premiums in line with other exchange options. According to experts, the ACA is driving the shift toward these narrow-network products. Because the health law standardizes health plan benefits and sets caps on out-of-pocket costs, providers and insurers use the networks as a “differentiator.” Experts say it will take “unique and appealing plan benefits and participating providers to attract consumers who are accustomed to broader choices of hospitals and doctors.”

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Tiptastic Tuesday: Shopping For Health Insurance… Now

Under the Affordable Care Act mandate, consumers will purchase more than just shoes online; now they will browse the internet for health insurance. Individuals who currently lack health coverage, will have the opportunity to use an online marketplace in search of an appropriate plan that meets their needs. With open enrollment beginning October 1st, it is exceptionally important for the consumer to become familiar with the ACA and the specific health insurance options offered under it.

  • There will be three basic tiers of coverage—gold, silver and bronze in addition to different levels of coverage within each tier. It is important the consumer takes their time when weighing options; how much risk are they willing to take (or pay) in case of an illness or injury?
  • Once an appropriate price plan is determined, the next step is finding the proper insurer. Network depth varies by plan, making it important to check what doctors will be available under that precise plan.
  • Remember, senior benefits will not be affected by the ACA’s health insurance marketplace.

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ACA Out-Of-Pocket Caps Waived Until 2015

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) hit another speed-bump before numerous mandates rollout October 1, 2014. Caps on out-of-pocket insurance costs such as co-pays and deductibles will be delayed until 2015. According to Forbes, the limits on out-of-pocket costs for 2014 were supposed to be $2,000 for individual policies and $4,000 for family policies. As a result of the delay, consumers may end up paying more out-of-pocket expenses for doctors’ services, hospital care and prescription medications.

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Affordable Care Act Implementation Timeline

As anticipation builds, many people are still unaware of the implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it will affect them.  In fact, according to a Kaiser Foundation Health Tracking Poll, four in ten Americans are unaware that the ACA is still a law and nearly two in ten believe it has been repealed by Congress or overturned by the Supreme Court. PwCHealth released an informative graphic that lays out a timeline of Obama’s 2010 health reform law.

Click here to view the timeline

Defining “Full-time”

The Affordable Care Act comes with many new laws and regulations that will affect the nation as a whole.  While the employer mandate was delayed a full year, it has still been a major concern for many.  Business owners as well as employees still remain skeptical about what exactly “full-time” entails. Capitol Hill defines full-time as working more than 30 hours per week, but some lawmakers may push to make it 40.

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