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Medicare and Health Policy

Monday, July 13, 2009

Simplifying Administration of Health Insurance

Mark Merlis
Health Policy Consultant

The high administrative costs of the U.S. health insurance system have been a focus of discussion for decades. Simplifying Administration of Health Insurance finds ways to define and classify administrative costs, both of insurers and of other participants in the system, and summarizes the fragmentary estimates of how large these costs are. It discusses current efforts to reduce administrative costs, many of which have focused on standardizing and simplifying transactions among insurers, providers, and employers. Finally, it considers how various reform proposals, whether or not directly targeted at administrative costs, might reduce—or add to—the complexity of the current system.

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Posted on July 13, 2009  |  Write the first comment
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Restructuring Health Insurance Markets

Elliot K. Wicks
Senior Economist, Health Management Associates

Restructuring Health Insurance Markets examines six structural changes that could expand health insurance coverage, with special focus on the administrative issues: changes in rating rules, high risk pools, standard benefit plans, reinsurance, Section 125 plans, and insurance exchanges. It considers what benefits these changes might produce, how they can be most effectively structured, and how they can be implemented. From an administrative standpoint, it is critical that any set of policies be considered as a whole, with careful attention to their interactions, both to enhance their chances for success and to avoid unnecessary administrative burdens and duplication.

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Posted on July 10, 2009  |  Write the first comment
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Friday, June 26, 2009

Administering Health Insurance Mandates

C. Eugene Steuerle
Vice President, Peter G. Peterson Foundation

Paul N. Van de Water
Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Mandates form an integral part of many proposals to expand health insurance coverage. Often, however, too little attention is paid to how and whether they can be administered.

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Posted on June 26, 2009  |  Write the first comment
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Paying a Fair Share for Health Coverage and Care

Jill Bernstein
Health Policy Consultant

Expanding health coverage will involve changes in the premiums and taxes people pay for health insurance and the amounts they pay out-of-pocket for specific health care services. Payment arrangements must generate sufficient revenue, promote efficiency in health care delivery, assure access to care for people who have low income or are in poor health, and minimize administrative costs and burden. Paying a Fair Share for Health Coverage and Care evaluates alternative approaches—including social insurance programs, means-tested premium assistance, and income-related cost sharing—according to these criteria.

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Posted on June 24, 2009  |  Write the first comment
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Social Security is Shovel-Ready

Robert Hudson
Professor and Chair, Department of Social Welfare Policy, Boston University

There can be no question that the current economic crisis is emerging as the most dire that we have seen since the 1930s. And, in terms of both employment opportunities and retirement savings, it seems certain to hit older Americans as hard as it will everyone else. Looking for any silver lining in this situation, one finally occurs to me. In recent years, pressures on age-related programs have built as "the scope of conflict" around aging policy has expanded, meaning that programs that were once politically insulated are now under scrutiny and attack from those who see entitlement spending for older adults leading us toward fiscal doom.

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