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Health Affairs

Benjamin D Sommers, Carrie E Fry, Robert J Blendon, Arnold M Epstein
Alternative approaches in Medicaid are proliferating under the Trump administration. Using a novel telephone survey, we assessed views on health savings accounts, work requirements, and Medicaid expansion. Our sample consisted of 2,739 low-income nonelderly adults in three Midwestern states: Ohio, which expanded eligibility for traditional Medicaid; Indiana, which expanded Medicaid using health savings accounts called POWER accounts; and Kansas, which has not expanded Medicaid. We found that coverage rates in 2017 were significantly higher in the two expansion states than in Kansas...
June 20, 2018: Health Affairs
Erin Trish, Jianhui Xu, Geoffrey Joyce
Medicare Part D has no cap on beneficiaries' out-of-pocket spending for outpatient prescription drugs, and, unlike Medicare Parts A and B, beneficiaries are prohibited from purchasing supplemental insurance that could provide such a cap. Historically, most beneficiaries whose annual Part D spending reached the catastrophic level were protected from unlimited personal liability by the Low-Income Subsidy (LIS). However, we found that the proportion of beneficiaries whose spending reached that level but did not qualify for the subsidy-and therefore remained liable for coinsurance-increased rapidly, from 18 percent in 2007 to 28 percent in 2015...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Mary A M Rogers, Joyce M Lee, Renuka Tipirneni, Tanima Banerjee, Catherine Kim
Type 1 diabetes mellitus, which often originates during childhood, is a lifelong disease that requires intensive daily medical management. Because health care services are critical to patients with this disease, we investigated the frequency of interruptions in private health insurance, and the outcomes associated with them, for working-age adults with type 1 diabetes in the United States in the period 2001-15. We designed a longitudinal study with a nested self-controlled case series, using the Clinformatics Data Mart Database...
July 2018: Health Affairs
(no author information available yet)
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 2018: Health Affairs
Sherry A Glied
One often-discussed option for controlling Medicare spending is to switch to a premium-support design. This would shift part of the risk of future health care cost increases from the federal treasury to Medicare beneficiaries. The economics of risk bearing suggests that this would be a mistake for three reasons. First, political decisions, not beneficiary choices, are the critical determinants of future health care costs. Second, only Congress can take into account the consequences of cost-containment decisions for both current and future generations...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Hannah T Neprash, Anna Zink, Joshua Gray, Katherine Hempstead
While most primary care physicians treated at least one Medicaid patient in 2013, Medicaid represented a small share of their payer mix. Following Medicaid eligibility expansion in 2014, most physicians maintained or slightly increased their Medicaid participation, with greater increases observed in states that expanded eligibility. Nevertheless, Medicaid patients remained concentrated among relatively few physicians after expansion.
July 2018: Health Affairs
Mehlika Toy, David W Hutton, Samuel So
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have concluded that eliminating the public health problem of chronic hepatitis B is feasible. We examined the economic and public health impact of reaching the World Health Organization targets of having 90 percent of chronic hepatitis B cases diagnosed and 80 percent being treated by 2030 in the United States with an annual incremental increase in screening and treatment rates. To reach the targets by 2030 would require screening approximately 14...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Ilana R Yurkiewicz
Much of the time, care teams react to complications instead of preventing them. A doctor calls on the medical system to take responsibility.
July 2018: Health Affairs
Nancy L Keating, Haiden A Huskamp, Elena Kouri, Deborah Schrag, Mark C Hornbrook, David A Haggstrom, Mary Beth Landrum
Health care spending in the months before death varies across geographic areas but is not associated with outcomes. Using data from the prospective multiregional Cancer Care Outcomes Research and Surveillance Consortium (CanCORS) study, we assessed the extent to which such variation is explained by differences in patients' sociodemographic factors, clinical factors, and beliefs; physicians' beliefs; and the availability of services. Among 1,132 patients ages sixty-five and older who were diagnosed with lung or colorectal cancer in 2003-05, had advanced-stage cancer, died before 2013, and were enrolled in fee-for-service Medicare, mean expenditures in the last month of life were $13,663...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Janelle Downing, Kerith Conron, Jody L Herman, John R Blosnich
Transgender people have been able to serve openly in the military since June 2016. However, the administration of President Donald Trump has signaled its interest in reinstating a ban on transgender military service. In March 2018 President Trump issued a revised memorandum that stated, in part, that people with a "history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria" who "may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery-are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Joshua M Liao, Judy A Shea, Arlene Weissman, Amol S Navathe
We surveyed a national sample of internal medicine physicians in March-May 2017 to explore their beliefs about the newly implemented Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Respondents believed that their efforts in the four focus areas identified in the survey would ultimately improve the value of care. When informed that those areas represented the four MIPS domains, the majority remained positive about the likely impact on value. However, expectations varied by physicians' characteristics and sense of control over the desired outcomes, and many respondents believed that unintended consequences could occur...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Alan R Weil
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 2018: Health Affairs
James D Chambers, David D Kim, Elle F Pope, Jennifer S Graff, Colby L Wilkinson, Peter J Neumann
We analyzed specialty drug coverage decisions issued by the largest US commercial health plans to examine variation in coverage and the consistency of those decisions with indications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Across 3,417 decisions, 16 percent of the 302 drug-indication pairs were covered the same way by all of the health plans, and 48 percent were covered the same way by 75 percent of the plans. Specifically, 52 percent of the decisions were consistent with the FDA label, 9 percent less restrictive, 2 percent mixed (less restrictive in some ways but more restrictive in others), and 33 percent more restrictive, while 5 percent of the pairs were not covered...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Sayeh S Nikpay, Michael R Richards, David Penson
Consolidation of physician practices by hospitals, or vertical integration, increased across all practice types in 2007-17. Rates of growth were highest among medical and surgical specialty practices and lowest among primary care practices. There was substantial variation within the specialties, ranging from 4 percentage points in dermatology to 34 percentage points in cardiology and oncology.
July 2018: Health Affairs
Zlatko Nikoloski, Elias Mossialos
In 2004 the government of Mexico initiated an ambitious program, Seguro Popular, to extend health insurance coverage to poor and informal-sector workers. While the program had a protective effect during its early stages, its impact on out-of-pocket health spending over time is unclear. This study used two waves of the Encuesta Nacional de Salud y Nutricion (from 2006 and 2012) to analyze the protective effects of Seguro Popular and social security programs on out-of-pocket and catastrophic health spending. While, given the endogeneity of Seguro Popular enrollment, we found no link between membership and out-of-pocket health care spending in the study period, we did find a robust, albeit small, link between membership and a reduction in catastrophic health spending...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Benjamin D Sommers, Mark Shepard, Katherine Hempstead
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) attempted to minimize disruptions to employer-sponsored insurance in part by implementing an employer mandate. Research has shown that employer coverage rates have been stable nationally under the ACA. Massachusetts enacted its own employer mandate in 2006 before eliminating it in 2014, in anticipation of the federal mandate. But the ACA's employer mandate was delayed until 2015 and exempted smaller firms that had been covered by the Massachusetts' mandate. In this unique policy environment, we found that the employer-sponsored insurance rate in Massachusetts fell by 2...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Sandra L Decker
On average, state Medicaid programs paid 59 percent of what Medicare paid for primary care services in 2012. The Affordable Care Act required states in 2013 and 2014 to raise Medicaid payment rates to primary care physicians for certain services to the level of Medicare rates. The result was an average 73 percent increase in primary care Medicaid payments for qualifying physicians. This study used nationally representative data to examine the association between this Medicaid "fee bump" and physician-reported measures of participation in Medicaid...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Rajender Agarwal, Ashutosh Gupta, A Mark Fendrick
Value-based insurance design (VBID) is a strategy that reduces cost sharing for high-value services and increases consumers' out-of-pocket spending for low-value care. VBID has increasingly been implemented by private and public payers and has inspired demonstration programs in Medicare Advantage and TRICARE. Given the recent publication of several studies, we performed an updated systematic review that evaluated the effects of reducing consumer cost sharing on medication adherence and other relevant outcomes...
July 2018: Health Affairs
Jonathan Yun, Kathryn Oehlman, Michael Johansen
Between 1996 and 2015, mean annual increases in per visit emergency department (ED) expenditures were significantly greater for private insurance than Medicare, Medicaid, and no insurance, with no corresponding difference in ED charges. Expenditures as a proportion of charges decreased for all insurers over time. Private insurance had the highest expenditure-to-charge ratio in each year.
July 2018: Health Affairs
Renee Y Hsia, Nandita Sarkar, Yu-Chu Shen
Inpatient volume has long been believed to be a contributing factor to ambulance diversion, which can lead to delayed treatment and poorer outcomes. We examined the extent to which both daily inpatient and emergency department (ED) volumes at specified hospitals, and diversion levels (that is, the number of hours ambulances were diverted on a given day) at their nearest neighboring hospitals, were associated with diversion levels in the period 2005-12. We found that a 10 percent increase in patient volume was associated with a sevenfold greater increase in diversion hours when the volume increase occurred among inpatients (5 percent) versus ED visitors (0...
July 2018: Health Affairs
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