As many predicted, Americans insured under the Affordable Care Act may not be able to keep their doctors--and even their hospitals.
A new study reveals that the average plans provided on the Obamacare health insurance exchanges offer 34 percent fewer providers than the average commercial plan offered outside the exchange.
The analysis from Avalere shows the disparity compared with commercial plans:
- 42 percent fewer oncology and cardiology specialists
- 32 percent fewer mental health and primary care providers
- 24 percent fewer hospitals
“Patients should evaluate a plan’s provider network when picking insurance on the exchange,” said Elizabeth Carpenter, vice president at Avalere. “Out-of-network care does not accrue toward out-of-pocket maximums, leaving consumers vulnerable to high costs if they seek care from a provider not included in their plan’s network.”
Patients need to evaluate a plan’s provider network when selecting insurance on the exchange, especially if they have a history of cancer or heart disease or require mental health services.
Limiting choice is one way for health exchanges to keep costs down, but ultimately patients bear the cost. “Plans continue to test new benefit designs in the exchange market,” said Dan Mendelson, CEO at Avalere. “Given the new requirements put in place by the ACA, network design is one way plans can drive value-based care and keep premiums low.”
The White House on Friday unveiled plans for a new effort to ramp up testing for Covid-19, which experts say is an essential part of limiting the spread of the virus. This chart from Vox gives a sense of just how far the U.S. has to go to catch up to other countries that are dealing with the pandemic, including South Korea, the leading virus screener with 3,692 tests per million people. The U.S., by comparison, has done about 23 tests per million people as of March 12.
The Air Force has scrapped a planned upgrade of its B-2 stealth bomber fleet — even after spending $2 billion on the effort — because defense contractor Northrup Grumman didn’t have the necessary software expertise to complete the project on time and on budget, Bloomberg’s Anthony Capaccio reports, citing the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.
Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, told reporters that the nearly $2 billion that had already been spent on the program wasn’t wasted because “we are still going to get upgraded electronic displays.”
Bernie Sanders wants to eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt, to be paid for by a tax on financial transactions, but doing so won’t be easy, says Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal.
The main problem for Sanders is that most Americans don’t support the plan, with 57% of respondents in a poll last fall saying they oppose the idea of canceling all student debt. And the politics are particularly thorny for Sanders as he prepares for a likely general election run, Mitchell says: “Among the strongest opponents are groups Democrats hope to peel away from President Trump: Rust Belt voters, independents, whites, men and voters in rural areas.”
That’s how much Michael Bloomberg is spending per day in his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination, according to new monthly filings with the Federal Election Commission. “In January alone, Bloomberg dropped more than $220 million on his free-spending presidential campaign,” The Hill says. “That breaks down to about $7.1 million a day, $300,000 an hour or $5,000 per minute.”