Findings from Johns Hopkins University Has Provided New Data on Health Policy and Law (Participation, Pricing, and Enrollment In a Health Insurance “public Option”Evidence From Washington State’s Cascade Care Program): Legal Issues – Health Policy and Law
NewsRx Policy and Law Daily
2021 DEC 27 (NewsRx) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at NewsRx Policy and Law Daily -- A new study on Legal Issues - Health Policy and Law is now available. According to news reporting originating in Baltimore, Maryland, by NewsRx journalists, research stated, “Policy Points Policymakers considering introduction of a health insurance ‘public option’ to lower health spending and reduce the number of uninsured can learn from Washington State, which offered the nation’s first public option (‘Cascade Care’) through its state exchange in 2021. This article examines insurer participation, pricing, and enrollment in the Washington public option.”
Funders for this research include Arnold Ventures, Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality.
The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Johns Hopkins University, “The public option was the lowest-premium standard silver plan in 9 of the 19 counties in which it was offered. Cascade Care is available solely through private insurers. Voluntary participation of these insurers and uncertainty about the willingness of providers to participate may have hindered greater premium reductions and enrollment in the public option’s first year. State and federal policymakers considering introduction of a health insurance ‘public option’ can learn from Washington State, which established the nation’s first public option, with coverage beginning in January 2021. Public option plans were offered voluntarily by private insurers through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange and were subject to state-mandated plan design and payment requirements. We used plan data from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, linked to data from the US Census Bureau, the American Hospital Association, and InterStudy. We compared geographic availability and premiums of, and enrollment in, public option and non-public option plans, as well as characteristics of counties where the public option was available and counties where the public option was the lowest-premium plan. At least one public option plan was available in 19 of 39 counties and was the lowest-premium option in 9 of the 19 counties where it was available. Five insurers offered public option plans, including one new entrant to the state and one new entrant to the Exchange. While public option availability was more common in counties where the Exchange was bigger and more competitive, public option plans had the lowest premium in smaller, less competitive counties. In the first year, 1% of enrollees selected the public option, in part due to automatic reenrollment of the majority of returning enrollees in their 2020 plan. Public option plans offered a low-premium choice in counties that otherwise had fewer affordable plans, but voluntary participation of insurers and providers and accompanying uncertainty about participation hindered widespread and substantial premium reductions. States should consider tying public option participation by insurers and providers to other state programs and using decision support tools to promote active enrollment.”
According to the news reporters, the research concluded: “Federal policymakers can support state efforts while considering establishment of a national public option.”
Our news correspondents report that additional information may be obtained by contacting Aditi P. Sen, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg Sch Publ Hlth, Baltimore, MD, United States. Additional authors for this research include Yashaswini Singh, Mark K. Meiselbach, Matthew D. Eisenberg and Gerard F. Anderson.
The direct object identifier (DOI) for that additional information is: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0009.12546. This DOI is a link to an online electronic document that is either free or for purchase, and can be your direct source for a journal article and its citation.
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