The Language of Health Care Reform

Published in the Jan. 19 edition of JAMA, this article from KFF Executive Vice President for Health Policy Larry Levitt lays out the major health policy challenges that will confront President-elect Biden and potential approaches to major reform. While a big reform debate may not be likely this year, one is likely coming as theMore

Analysis Examines the Implications of Price Transparency for Providers and Patients as New Rules Go into Effect

A new KFF analysis examines how new federal rules on price transparency for health services may affect patient decision-making and market pricing. As of January 1, 2021, the United States Department of Health and Human Services requires that hospitals publish payer-negotiated rates for common services on their websites. A second set of rules, which requiresMore

Get Ready for a Lot of Biden Executive Orders on Health Care

In this column for the JAMA Health Forum, Larry Levitt explores what President-elect Biden might do to advance his health care vision both through legislation and through executive orders and waivers and demonstrations.

Gaps in Cost Sharing Protections for COVID-19 Testing and Treatment Could Spark Public Concerns About COVID-19 Vaccine Costs

In the issue brief, KFF experts highlight the laws and regulations that are in place to ensure access to free COVID-19 vaccines for individuals regardless of their insurance status and explain how vaccine administration costs will be covered in private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, and for the uninsured.

Poll: Large Majorities Now Say They Wear Masks Regularly and Can Continue Social Distancing for At Least Six Months if Needed, though Republicans Remain Less Likely to Take Such Precautions

As winter sets in and COVID-19 cases and deaths reach records in most parts of the country, more Americans say they wear masks every time they leave home now (73%) than said so in May (52%), a new KFF Health Tracking Poll finds. A small minority (11%) say they wear masks only some of theMore

Health Insurer Financial Performance Through September 2020

In this brief, we analyze third quarter data from 2018 to 2020 to examine how insurance markets performed financially through the end of September. Average margins remained relatively high compared to the same point in recent years, suggesting many insurers remained profitable even as non-COVID-related care returned in the summer and fall.

How Might Internet Connectivity Affect Health Care Access?

A new chart collection looks at how internet access may affect health care in the U.S., as more providers turn to telemedicine during the pandemic. An estimated 25 million Americans – about 8% of the population – lack access to internet at home. Hispanic and Black Americans, seniors, rural residents, and those living in povertyMore

How Costly Are Common Health Services in the United States?

A new chart collection examines what we know about the cost of common health services in the U.S. The analysis shows that costs for many common health services have risen more rapidly than inflation; for example, the average cost of hospital admission among large employer plans increased by about $10,000 (68%) between 2008 and 2018.More

Tracking Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers

This interactive map shows the status of all Section 1332 waivers requested by states. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows states to apply for innovation waivers to alter key ACA requirements in the individual and small group insurance markets and can be used to shore up fragile insurance markets, address unique state insurance market issues, or experiment with alternative models of providing coverage to state residents.

Explaining Health Care Reform: Questions About Health Insurance Subsidies

This brief describes health insurance subsidies available through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, including premium subsidies that would be provided in the form of tax credits, as well as other subsidies that would lower cost sharing to eligible Americans. It provides details on who is eligible for the assistance, the maximum repayment limits for the credits, and out-of-pocket spending limits.

Analysis: COVID-19 Ranks as a Top 3 Leading Cause of Death in the U.S., Higher than in Almost All Other Peer Countries

A new KFF analysis examines leading causes of death and mortality rates in the United States and comparable countries. The U.S. has a higher COVID-19 mortality rate than many of its peer countries, with COVID-19 ranking as the nation’s third-leading cause of death in 2020, behind only heart disease and cancer. Among similarly large andMore

The Pandemic’s Effect on the Widening Gap in Mortality Rate between the U.S. and Peer Countries

A new KFF brief looks at where COVID-19 falls as a leading cause of death in the U.S. compared to similarly large and wealthy countries. The analysis finds that COVID-19 mortality rates are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., a ranking shared by only one peer country, Belgium. In several other peerMore

Want to protect people with preexisting conditions? You need the full Affordable Care Act.

In this perspective published by the Washington Post, KFF Executive Vice President for Health Policy Larry Levitt explains why the popular Affordable Care Act provisions that ensure people with pre-existing conditions can access affordable health insurance can’t easily be preserved if other related provisions are overturned.

Health Policy Resources for Covering the 2020 Elections

As the 2020 Election Day approaches, many candidates continue to focus on health care issues, including on the public health and economic response to COVID-19, the future of the Affordable Care Act, health care costs and abortion. To help reporters understand and cover these issues, KFF offers independent, non-partisan policy analysis, polling and other research andMore

KFF Health Tracking Poll – October 2020: The Future of the ACA and Biden’s Advantage On Health Care

The poll examines the public’s views on the Supreme Court case to overturn the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Less than a month from the results of the 2020 presidential election, this poll examines the top issues for voters (the economy, the coronavirus pandemic, health care, criminal justice and policing, among others) as well as which candidate, Biden or Trump, they think has the better approach to handle key health care policy areas.

A Reconfigured U.S. Supreme Court: Implications for Health Policy

U.S. Supreme Court decisions shape health policy in important ways. The nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, if confirmed, is expected to establish a solid 6:3 conservative majority that could affect case outcomes in several areas. This issue brief considers the potential implications of a reconfigured Court for health policy issues, including those already on the Court’s docket for the coming term and those that the Court may choose to consider in this term or in the future.

Premiums and Worker Contributions Among Workers Covered by Employer-Sponsored Coverage, 1999-2020

This graphing tool allows users to explore trends in workplace-sponsored health insurance premiums and worker contributions over time for different categories of employers based on results from the annual Employer Health Benefits Survey. Breakouts are available by firm size, region and industry, as well as for firms with relatively few or many part-time workers, higher- or lower-wage workers, and older or younger workers.

Average Family Premiums Rose 4% to $21,342 in 2020, Benchmark KFF Employer Health Benefit Survey Finds

San Francisco – Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 4% to average $21,342 this year, according to the 2020 benchmark KFF Employer Health Benefits Survey. On average, workers this year are contributing $5,588 toward the cost of family coverage, with employers paying the rest. The survey was conducted from January to July asMore

2020 Employer Health Benefits Survey

This annual survey of employers provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, offer rates, wellness programs, and employer practices. Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $21,342 this year, up 4% from last year, with workers on average paying $5,588 toward the cost of their coverage.

Health Care and the 2020 Presidential Election

This side-by-side comparison examines President Trump’s record and former Vice President Biden’s positions across a wide range of key health issues, including the response to the pandemic, the Affordable Care Act marketplace, Medicaid, Medicare, drug prices, reproductive health, mental health and opioids, immigration and health coverage, and health care costs.

The Veterans Health Administration’s Role During the COVID-19 Response

A new issue brief examines the role of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) during the coronavirus pandemic, and public health emergencies more broadly. The analysis finds that the VHA has provided assistance to 46 states and D.C., including treating over 270 non-veteran patients with coronavirus.

Drew Altman: The Pandemic is Boosting the Public’s View of Doctors

In this Axios column, Drew Altman looks at how the heroic performance of the nation’s doctors on the frontlines of coronavirus care and effective communication by many physician scientists on television, is shifting the public’s views, with twice as many Americans now saying doctors put people ahead of profits than they did in earlier KFF polling.

Public’s Views of Doctors, Nurses, Insurance Companies, and Drug Companies Survey

This brief survey examines how the public views the motivations of doctors, nurses, insurance companies, and drug companies when it comes to making profits vs. working for the public good. It updates a question asked in 2005 to measure how views have changed over time.

Updated Dashboard Features New Data on U.S. Health System Performance

Newly updated and expanded, the Peterson-KFF Health System Dashboard compiles data on the U.S. health system’s performance in four areas: access and affordability, health and well-being, health spending, and quality of care. Users can explore trends over time, as well as disparities and differences across demographic groups.

Analysis Finds List Prices for COVID-19 Tests Range from $20 to $850 At Large Hospitals Nationwide

A new KFF analysis of what large hospitals nationwide charge for out-of-network COVID-19 tests show a wide range of publicly posted prices — from $20 to $850 for a single test. In many cases, the prices exceed what Medicare pays for COVID testing, which is either $51 or $100 depending on the test. Federal lawMore

State Data and Policy Actions to Address Coronavirus

Every state and Washington D.C. have eased or lifted at least one social distancing requirement — including 32 states that have eased or lifted stay-at-home orders. From May 21 to May 28, restaurants reopened to dine-in service in 4 more states, and 4 more states eased or lifted their gatherings ban. Between May 28 to June 4, seven more states allowed restaurants to reopen to dine-in service.

New State Fact Sheets Highlight Key Data About Mental Health and Substance Use Needs and Capacity

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn are taking a toll on mental health for many Americans, with large shares of the public saying that related worry and stress is having a negative effect on their mental health. A new KFF analysis and series of state fact sheets examine mental health and substance use disorderMore

How does the quality of the U.S. health care system compare to other countries?

This chart collection compares the quality of health care in the United States to that in other wealthy and sizable countries. While all have seen improvements in health outcomes, the United States continues to lag behind, with higher rates of overall mortality, premature death and preventable death, as well as higher-than-average morality rates for each of the leading causes of death except cancer.