August Research Round Up: What We’re Reading

Summer is over, but health policy researchers have hardly taken a vacation. In August’s research round up, CHIR’s Olivia Hoppe looks into studies examining specialty drug coverage across commercial plans, the effects of the Affordable Care Act on people of different income levels, individual market premium predictions, employer-sponsored high-deductible health plans, and surprise medical bills in employer-sponsored insurance. Continue reading

The FAA Reauthorization Bill – An Unexpected Vehicle for Relief from Surprise Medical Bills?

More often than not, air ambulance services are called in to serve people in severe physical distress who do not have the capacity at the time to provide consent. Yet many are later hit with huge surprise out-of-network charges for the flight. State departments of insurance and state legislators across the nation have taken notice of this issue and sought to protect consumers, but a federal law that has nothing to do with health care prevents them from regulating air ambulance providers. CHIR’s Maanasa Kona explains two potential federal remedies. Continue reading

READ THE FINE PRINT: A New Provision in BCBS of Mississippi Plan Could Mean Huge Unexpected Costs for Plan Enrollees

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi has included a new provision in its plan description that could mean huge costs for plan participants. The new policy does not cover prescription drugs prescribed by out-of-network providers. How does this policy square with the ACA? And what does it mean for consumers? Elissa Dines discusses. Continue reading

The ACA in 2014: Helping Consumers Transition to New Coverage

The start of 2014 marks the transition to new health plans that must meet ACA standards for adequacy and affordability. But, as with any transition, there can be disruptions, particularly for people who are in the middle of treatment or need drugs that may not be on a new plan’s formulary. HHS has recently released fact sheets and an interim final rule to help consumers and health plans make a smooth transition. JoAnn Volk has this overview – and answers some common consumer questions. Continue reading