Examining Cost Of Health Coverage Issues

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Analysis examines cost of employer-sponsored health coverage. Another report looks at Medicare Part D plan changes, examines tax treatment of health plans.

* "Employer Sponsored Health Insurance -- A Comparison of the Availability and Cost of Coverage for Workers in Small Firms and Large Firms," Kaiser Family Foundation: The analysis, part of the Foundation's online Snapshots: Health Care Costs series, highlights the differences in the availability and costs of health coverage for workers at small and large companies that might be relevant to any U.S. health care system reform effort. The analysis finds that companies with fewer than 200 employees are less likely to offer health coverage to workers than larger companies (62% vs. 99%). In addition, the analysis finds that even when workers at small businesses can receive coverage, they often face higher deductibles, contribute a larger share of their premium costs for family coverage and pay more medical expenses out-of-pocket than their counterparts at larger companies (Kaiser Family Foundation release, 11/ 19).

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* "Musical Chairs: An Analysis of the Part D Annual Reassignment Process," National Senior Citizens Law Center: The analysis examines how changes to 2009 Medicare prescription drug benefit plans will force low-income beneficiaries to switch to new plans or face higher premiums or limited access to their medications. The analysis states that about 25% of beneficiaries receiving the low-income subsidy currently are enrolled in plans that are fully covered by the subsidy, but will not be in 2009 (National Senior Citizen's Law Center release, November 2008).

* "Using Section 125-Premium-Only Plans to Expand Health Coverage," Mathematica Research Policy: The issue brief examines the IRS Section 125 employee health plans, which allow employees to pay for their health care insurance premium on a pretax basis, and how states are using the plans to expand access to health coverage. According to the brief, despite the potential tax-savings for low-income workers, many small firms do not offer these plans because they are not familiar with them or the tax treatment of employer-sponsored health plans in general (Mathematica release, 11/19).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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