Probabilities on Likely Supreme Court Healthcare Rulings

May 29, 2012

From a Citi analysis.  Probability that the Supreme Court’s healthcare ruling will….

Strike everything: 15%
Uphold everything: 30%
Strike mandate, strike insurance reforms; uphold Medicaid expansion: 30%
Strike just the individual mandate; uphold Medicaid expansion: 10%
Strike mandate, strike insurance reforms, strike Medicaid expansion: 10%
Strike the individual mandate, strike Medicaid expansion: 5%


Healthcare Costs Rise 6.9% in 2012, Milliman Says

May 17, 2012

That’s slower than prior years, but still way faster than the overall economy.  From the annual Milliman Medical Index:

The annual Milliman Medical Index measures the total cost of healthcare for a typical family of four covered by a preferred provider plan.  The 2012 MMI cost is $20,728, an increase of $1,335, or 6.9% over 2011.  The rate of increase is not as high as in the past, but the total dollar increase was still a record.  This is the first year the average cost of healthcare for the typical American family of four has surpassed $20,000.


Insurer vs. Provider Market Clout

May 15, 2012

Austin Frakt writing on The AcademyHealth Blog:

Less competition among insurers can help reduce provider prices, but with a side-effect of increasing premiums and lack of coverage. Rate regulation can help counter the latter. Another approach is to increase the bargaining clout of consumers, e.g., by aggregating them in exchanges. This would make the individual market behave a bit more like the group market, for which Bates, Hillard, and Santerre found no relationship between insurer market concentration and coverage.


CDHPs: The Good and the Bad

May 14, 2012

From Health Affairs, May 2012:

Enrollment is increasing in consumer-directed health insurance plans, which feature high deductibles and a personal health care savings account. We project that an increase in market share of these plans—from the current level of 13 percent of employer-sponsored insurance to 50 percent—could reduce annual health care spending by about $57 billion. That decrease would be the equivalent of a 4 percent decline in total health care spending for the nonelderly. However, such growth in consumer-directed plan enrollment also has the potential to reduce the use of recommended health care services, as well as to increase premiums for traditional health insurance plans, as healthier individuals drop traditional coverage and enroll in consumer-directed plans.

1Q12 Profits Mixed at Publicly Traded Plans

May 9, 2012

Twelve publicly traded health plans posted a combined 1% decline in first-quarter 2012 net income.  But if you include only the health insurance operations of Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealth in the total, net income among the 12 companies rose nearly 2%–largely because the Cigna and United health plans outperformed consolidated corporate operations.  Net margin among the 12 plans slipped 30 basis points to 4.3%.  Complete coverage appears in Health Plan Market Trends.


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