Explaining the decline in health insurance coverage, 1979-1995.
The decline in health insurance coverage among workers from 1979 to 1995 can be accounted for almost entirely by the fact that per capita health care spending rose much more rapidly than personal income during this time period. We simulate health insurance coverage levels for 1996-2005 under alternative assumptions concerning the rate of growth of spending. We conclude that reduction in spending growth creates measurable increases in health insurance coverage for low-income workers and that the rapid increase in health care spending over the past fifteen years has created a large pool of low-income workers for whom health insurance is unaffordable. (+info)
Behavioral health benefits in employer-sponsored health plans, 1997.
Data for 1997 show that three-quarters or more of employer-sponsored health plans continue to place greater restrictions on behavioral health coverage than on general medical coverage. The nature of these restrictions varies by plan type. Some improvement in the treatment of mental health/substance abuse (MH/SA) benefits in employer plans may be occurring, however. Comparisons with data from 1996 show that the proportion of plans with benefits for "alternative" types of MH/SA services, such as nonhospital residential care, has increased. Further, the proportion with special limitations on these benefits shows a modest decrease. (+info)
Raising the bar: the use of performance guarantees by the Pacific Business Group on Health.
In 1996 the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) negotiated more than two dozen performance guarantees with thirteen of California's largest health maintenance organizations (HMOs) on behalf the seventeen large employers in its Negotiating Alliance. The negotiations put more than $8 million at risk for meeting performance targets with the goal of improving the performance of all health plans. Nearly $2 million, or 23 percent of the premium at risk, was refunded to the PBGH by the HMOs for missed targets. The majority of plans met their targets for satisfaction with the health plan and physicians, as well as cesarean section, mammography, Pap smear, and prenatal care rates. However, eight of the thirteen plans missed their targets for childhood immunizations, refunding 86 percent of the premium at risk. (+info)
Cost of tax-exempt health benefits in 1998.
The tax expenditure for health benefits is the amount of revenues that the federal government forgoes by exempting the following from the federal income and Social Security taxes: (1) employer health benefits contribution, (2) health spending under flexible spending plans, and (3) the tax deduction for health expenses. The health tax expenditure was $111.2 billion in 1998. This figure varied from $2,357 per family among those with annual incomes of $100,000 or more to $71 per family among those with annual incomes of less than $15,000. Families with incomes of $100,000 or more (10 percent of the population) accounted for 23.6 percent of all tax expenditures. (+info)
Why are workers uninsured? Employer-sponsored health insurance in 1997.
This study examines the number of workers in firms offering employee health plans, the number of workers eligible for such plans, and participation in employer-sponsored insurance. Data from the February 1997 Contingent Worker Supplement to the Current Population Survey indicate that 10.1 million workers are employed by firms offering insurance but are not eligible. Not all of these workers are eligible for coverage, most often because of hours of work. Our results indicate that 11.4 million workers rejected coverage when it was offered. Of those, 2.5 million workers were uninsured. Workers cited high cost of insurance most often as the primary factor for refusing coverage. (+info)
Employer's willingness to pay: the case for compulsory health insurance in Tanzania.
This article documents employers' expenditure on the arrangements for the health care of their employees in one of the least developed countries; Tanzania. The case for compulsory health insurance is considered in the light of the fact that only 3% of the population is employed in the formal sector and could be covered at first. It is shown from a survey of larger employers, outside government, that they were spending on average 11% of payroll on health care for their employees. This demonstrated their lack of satisfaction with the government health services. Nevertheless, those who could readily be covered by insurance were making considerable use of the more expensive government hospital services. It is argued that a compulsory health insurance scheme could be introduced for the formal sector of employment which would cover a wider range of health services at lower cost. The scheme would also have the desirable economic effect of lowering employers' labour costs while making it possible to improve the standards of the government health services. (+info)
Changes in benefit payments and health insurance premiums among firms switching health insurance carriers.
Employer-purchased group health insurance is a major source of funding in the US healthcare system, accounting for approximately one third of each healthcare dollar spent. Surprisingly, little is known about employers' behavior in purchasing health insurance or the circumstances leading employers to switch health insurance carriers. We descriptively analyzed data for a cohort of 95 insured groups between 1985 and 1991 to determine the frequency with which employers switch health insurance carriers and the growth pattern in premiums and benefit payments before the switch was made. Thirty-seven percent of groups switched carriers during the study period, with at least five groups switching each year from 1987 through 1991. The groups that switched insurance carriers experienced higher average annual rates of growth in benefit payments than those that did not switch (18% versus 11%). Groups that switched did not have significantly higher observed premium growth rates than those that did not switch, suggesting that employers decided to switch insurers before absorbing an increase in premiums. However, some firms that switched experienced below average increases in both benefit payments and premiums, indicating that premiums and anticipated premium increases are not solely responsible for the decision to switch health insurance carriers. (+info)
Does competition by health maintenance organizations affect the adoption of cost-containment measures by fee-for-service plans?
How groups insured by fee-for-service health plans react to increased competition from health maintenance organizations (HMOs) is an unresolved question. We investigated whether groups insured by indemnity plans respond to HMO market competition by changing selected health insurance features, such as deductible amounts, stop loss levels, and coinsurance rates, or by adopting utilization management or preferred provider organization (PPO) benefit options. We collected benefit design data for the years 1985 through 1992 from 95 insured groups in 62 US metropolitan statistical areas. Multivariate hazard analysis showed that groups located in markets with higher rates of change in HMO enrollment were less likely to increase deductibles or stop loss levels. Groups located in markets with higher HMO enrollment were more likely to adopt utilization management or PPO benefit options. A group located in a market with an HMO penetration rate of 20% was 65% more likely to have included a PPO option as part of its insurance benefit plan than a group located in a market with an HMO penetration rate of 15% (p < 0.05). Concern about possible adverse selection effects may deter some fee-for-service groups from changing their health insurance coverage. Under some conditions, however, groups insured under fee-for-service plans do respond to managed care competition by changing their insurance benefits to achieve greater cost containment. (+info)