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Effects Of Expanded Eligibility In Health Insurance Program

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Papers examine effects of expanded eligibility in public health insurance program for older children, Medicare spending.

* "Has Public Health Insurance for Older Children Reduced Disparities in Access to Care and Health Outcomes?" Journal of Health Economics: The paper examines the effects of expanding public health insurance programs for older children. The paper analyzes data from the National Health Interview Survey from 1986 to 2005 and finds that income became a less important predictor of the health statuses of children ages nine to 17 in recent years. In addition, the report finds that while eligibility for public health insurance programs improves current utilization of preventive care, it has little effect on a person's current health status. In addition, the paper finds some evidence that Medicaid eligibility in early childhood has positive effects on future health, which suggests that early and adequate care puts children on a course for better health as they grow (Currie et al., Journal of Health Economics, December 2008).

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* "Managed Care and Medical Expenditures of Medicare Beneficiaries," Journal of Health Economics: The paper examines the effects of increasing enrollment in Medicare HMO plans on medical care expenditures incurred by Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. Estimates suggest that an increase in HMO participation results in a decline in spending for each fee-for-service beneficiary. The paper also suggests that estimated spending reductions are driven by beneficiaries with at least one chronic condition (Chernew et al., Journal of Health Economics, December 2008).

* "Opportunities Exist for Improving Information Sent to Enrollees and Scheduling the Annual Election Period," Government Accountability Office: The report examines stakeholders' views of the model Annual Notice of Change that provides information to Medicare Part D beneficiaries in stand-alone prescription drug plans about switching plans during the benefits election period, as well as their views of CMS' efforts to ensure the effectiveness of the notice. The report also examines how scheduling of the annual coordinated election period affects the re-enrollment process for beneficiaries changing drug plans. For the study, GAO interviewed eight of the largest insurers offering drug plans along with other stakeholders and analyzed data from CMS. GAO recommends that CMS strengthen assessment of its model materials by reviewing different formats to communicate plan changes. Also, GAO recommends that Congress should consider authorizing the HHS secretary to amend the election period schedule to include a processing interval between the end of the period and the effective date of new coverage ("Opportunities Exist for Improving Information Sent to Enrollees and Scheduling the Annual Election Period," GAO, December 2008).

* "Waste in the U.S. Health Care System: A Conceptual Framework," Milbank Quarterly: The article proposes a conceptual framework for policymakers and researchers to better evaluate waste in the health care system, implement waste reduction strategies and reduce unnecessary health care spending. The article categorizes waste as being an operational, administrative or clinical component of care, and provides examples and challenges to measuring and reducing wasteful spending (Bentley et al., Milbank Quarterly, December 2008).

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.