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Proposed improvements to ACA could reduce number of uninsured by 12.2 million.

Byline: Anthony Vecchione

An analysis conducted by researchers at the Urban Institute and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examined the impact of four policy scenarios designed to improve the Affordable Care Act that taken together, could reduce the number of uninsured by 12.2 million people, or 7.3 percent uninsured.An analysis conducted by researchers at the Urban Institute and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examined the impact of four policy scenarios designed to improve the Affordable Care Act that taken together, could reduce the number of uninsured by 12.2 million people, or 7.3 percent uninsured.

The analysis focuses on improving the current system through incremental steps that would maintain the structure of the ACA but increase insurance coverage, enhance affordability and contain costs.

The four policies, which have been raised during previous reform discussions, are intended to increase access, improve affordability, stabilize the insurance marketplaces and contain health care costs, according to researchers.

The policies include: reinstating the individual mandate and cost-sharing reductions, and prohibiting expanded availability of "skimpy" plans (e.g. short-term health plans); expanding Medicaid eligibility in all remaining states for families with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and using auto-enrollment of those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to streamline the enrollment process; improving affordability and marketplace financial stability by enhancing the ACA's financial assistance, adjusting tax credit eligibility and introducing a permanent federal reinsurance program for non-group coverage; and reducing non-group coverage premiums and out-of-pocket costs by capping provider reimbursements at levels somewhat above Medicare levels.

Under these policies, researchers concluded that a family of four (two 35-year-old parents and two children) with income of about $88,500 could save almost $1,900 on premiums with a deductible that is $3,300 lower than under current law.

The analysis reveals how each of these incremental steps would affect federal, state, employer and household costs. The authors estimate that these policies collectively would increase total national health care spending on acute care for those below age 65 by 1.8 percent, or $39.8 billion in 2020.

"A new Congress means a new opportunity for policymakers on both sides of the aisle to consider how to make health care more accessible and affordable," said Anne Weiss, managing director at the Princeton-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in a statement.View the full article from NJBIZ at http://www.njbiz.com/article/20181218/NJBIZ01/181219857/proposed-improvements-to-aca-could-reduce-number-of-uninsured-by-122-million. Copyright 2018 BridgeTower Media. All Rights Reserved.

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Publication:NJ Biz
Date:Dec 18, 2018
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