Health Insurance in the News . . .

King v. Burwell

A few weeks ago, we talked about the pending Supreme Court decision that may take away financial assistance from millions of people who bought health insurance plans from the Marketplace. Now we have additional information about the potential impact of such a decision: a group of public health experts (19 deans of public health schools and the American Public Health Association) says that a ruling for King in the King v. Burwell case would result in about 9,800 deaths a year that would have been preventable if those individuals had health insurance coverage.

More States Extend Open Enrollment

Rhode Island (3/15-4/30) and Connecticut (4/1-4/30) have joined other states and states that get coverage through the federal Marketplace that are offering special 2015 enrollment periods for people who discover as they file their 2014 taxes that they owe a penalty for going without coverage last year.

Latest ACA Stats

11 million adults got new insurance coverage under the ACA in 2014. But nearly half of the 30 million Americans without health insurance would qualify for Medicaid or financial assistance, per a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

Since the ACA went into effect in 2010, more than 4.5 million young adults have gotten access to health insurance coverage that they would not have. The uninsured rate for young adults dropped by 40% between 2010 and the second quarter of 2014, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Unfortunately, one in five people ages 19 to 25 still lack health insurance for various reasons.

The number of U.S. adults who did not get needed care because of cost dropped from 43% in 2012 to 36% in 2014, as the health care law’s main coverage expansion went into full effect, according to the Commonwealth Fund’s biennial health insurance survey.

Skipping Medications to Save Money

Working-age adults are much more likely than seniors to skip, delay or space out medications because of cost concerns, according to the CDC:

  • More than 8% of adults ages 18-64 didn’t take medicine as prescribed,
  • 5% purposely missed a dose,
  • Nearly 6% took less, and
  • More than 7% delayed filling a prescription.

This is almost double the rate of adults 65 and older. And uninsured adults were more likely than those with private coverage or Medicaid to use these “strategies” to save money. Not following a doctor’s instructions on taking medications may result in poorer health and increased emergency room use and hospitalizations.

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