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)
Challenges in securing access to care for children.
Congressional approval of Title XXI of the Social Security Act, which created the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), is a significant public effort to expand health insurance to children. Experience with the Medicaid program suggests that eligibility does not guarantee children's enrollment or their access to needed services. This paper develops an analytic framework and presents potential indicators to evaluate CHIP's performance and its impact on access, defined broadly to include access to health insurance and access to health services. It also presents options for moving beyond minimal monitoring to an evaluation strategy that would help to improve program outcomes. The policy considerations associated with such a strategy are also discussed. (+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)
Research note: price uncertainty and the demand for health care.(5/810)
Reform follows failure: I. Unregulated private care in Lebanon.
This first of two papers on the health sector in Lebanon describes how unregulated development of private care quickly led to a crisis situation. Following the civil war the health care sector in Lebanon is characterized by (i) ambulatory care provided by private practitioners working as individual entrepreneurs, and, to a small extent, by NGO health centres; and (ii) by a fast increase in hi-tech private hospitals. The latter is fuelled by unregulated purchase of hospital care by the Ministry of Health and public insurance schemes. Health expenditure and financing patterns are described. The position of the public sector in this context is analyzed. In Lebanon unregulated private care has resulted in major inefficiencies, distortion of the health care system, the creation of a culture that is oriented to secondary care and technology, and a non-sustainable cost explosion. Between 1991 and 1995 this led to a financing and organizational crisis that is the background for growing pressure for reform. (+info)
The potential role of risk-equalization mechanisms in health insurance: the case of South Africa.
International agencies such as the World Bank have widely advocated the use of health insurance as a way of improving health sector efficiency and equity in developing countries. However, in developing countries with well-established, multiple-player health insurance markets, such as South Africa, extension of insurance coverage is now inhibited by problems of moral hazard, and associated cost escalation and fragmentation of insurer risk-pools. Virtually no research has been done on the problem of risk selection in health insurance outside developed countries. This paper provides a brief overview of the problem of risk fragmentation as it has been studied in developed countries, and attempts to apply this to middle-income country settings, particularly that of South Africa. A number of possible remedial measures are discussed, with risk-equalization funds being given the most attention. An overview is given of the risk-equalization approach, common misconceptions regarding its working and the processes that might be required to assess its suitability in different national settings. Where there is widespread public support for social risk pooling in health care, and government is willing and able to assume a regulatory role to achieve this, risk-equalization approaches may achieve significant efficiency and equity gains without destroying the positive features of private health care financing, such as revenue generation, competition and free choice of insurer. (+info)
Pressures on safety net access: the level of managed care penetration and uninsurance rate in a community.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of managed care penetration and the uninsurance rate in an area on access to care of low-income uninsured persons and to compare differences in access between low-income insured and uninsured persons across these different market areas. DATA SOURCES: Primarily the Community Tracking Study household survey. Other market-level data were obtained from the Community Tracking Study physician survey, American Hospital Association annual survey of hospitals, Area Resource File, HCFA Administrative Data, Bureau of Primary Care data on Community Health Centers. STUDY DESIGN: Individuals are grouped based on the level of managed care penetration and uninsurance rate in the site where they reside. Measures of managed care include overall managed care penetration in the site, and the level of Medicaid managed care penetration in the state. Uninsurance rate is defined as the percentage of people uninsured in the site. Measures of access include the percentage with a usual source of care, percentage with any ambulatory care use, and percentage of persons who reported unmet medical care needs. Estimates are adjusted to control for other confounding factors, including both individual and market-level characteristics. DATA COLLECTION: A survey, primarily telephoned, of households concentrated in 60 sites, defined as metropolitan statistical areas and nonmetropolitan areas. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Access to care for low-income uninsured persons is lower in states with high Medicaid managed care penetration, compared to uninsured persons in states with low Medicaid managed care penetration. Access to care for low-income uninsured persons is also lower in areas with high uninsurance rates. The "access gap" (differences in access between insured and uninsured persons) is also larger in areas with high Medicaid managed care penetration and areas with high uninsurance rates. CONCLUSIONS: Efforts to achieve cost savings under managed care may result in financial pressures that limit cross-subsidization of care to the medically indigent, particularly for those providers who are heavily dependent on Medicaid revenue. High demand for care (as reflected in high uninsurance rates) may further strain limited resources for indigent care, further limiting access to care for uninsured persons. (+info)