General News Update
- The U.S. spent $3.65 trillion on healthcare in 2018, which is about the size of Spain and Canada’s economies combined. This is 4.4% higher than 2017. The rate of healthcare spending is growing faster than the economy, which means that these healthcare costs are coming out of people’s paychecks.
- According to CMS’s Office of the Actuary, U.S. healthcare expenditures will rise by an average of 5.5 percent between 2018 and 2027. During this time, Medicare spending is expected to increase 7.4 percent annually, while Medicaid and private insurance would rise 5.5 percent and 4.7 percent respectively.
- The Emergency Department Review program started by Anthem in 2017 has made the insurance process even more complicated for consumers who have utilized emergency room services by scrutinizing whether they were necessary services, and if not, the consumer would be responsible for the bill. Many are concerned that this policy will cause people to avoid ER services even when they are required as a precaution against the billing.
- States with expanded Medicaid programs are searching for ways to fund new enrollees in 2020 as the federal contribution to the program gradually decreases. Many states have implemented higher taxes on health providers or insurers, or have imposed so called “sin” taxes on the sale of alcohol or cigarettes.
- Lawmakers in California have introduced legislation that would reinstate the individual mandate, which would require all state residents to have health insurance starting in 2020 or pay a penalty.
Source: National Association of Health Underwriters