The passage of the Affordable Care Act represents an historic change in the way health insurance has been handled in the United States. With political discourse about the act continuing to occupy public policy debates and the news media, this collection attempts to shed light on the impact of the policy on citizens and providers as well as examine how the ACA is affecting quality, access, and costs of care.

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The Effects of Medicaid Expansion under the ACA: Updated Findings from a Literature Review

March 28, 2018

A substantial body of research has investigated effects of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on coverage; access to care, utilization, affordability, and health outcomes; and various economic measures. This issue brief summarizes findings from 202 studies of the impact of state Medicaid expansions under the ACA published beginning in January 2014 (when the coverage provisions of the ACA went into effect) and updates earlier versions of this brief with studies through February 2018.1 More recent studies continue to support earlier findings but provide additional findings in key areas, including expansion's effects on health outcomes, access to services and medications for behavioral health and other needs, and providers' financial stability.

Abortion Coverage in the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2018 ( S.1771 )

March 22, 2018

The role of government in regulating abortion coverage began to be debated shortly after the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Roe v Wade. Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has blocked federal funds under Medicaid and other federal programs from being used to pay for abortion, allowing exceptions only for pregnancies that endanger a woman's life, or that result from rape or incest. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) interpreted the federal abortion-funding ban to include the federal tax credits that functioned as premium subsidies to help individuals afford Marketplace plans. This issue brief reviews current federal and state policies on private insurance coverage of abortion services, and how the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2018 would affect abortion coverage for women enrolled in the individual market.

Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility, Enrollment, Renewal, and Cost Sharing Policies as of January 2018: Findings from a 50-State Survey

March 20, 2018

This 16th annual 50-state survey provides data on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility, enrollment, renewal and cost sharing policies as of January 2018. It takes stock of how the programs have evolved as the fifth year of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begins, discusses policy changes made during 2017, and looks ahead to issues that may affect state policies moving forward. It is based on a survey of state Medicaid and CHIP officials conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.Key FindingsMedicaid and CHIP provide a robust base of coverage for low-income children. All but two states cover children with incomes up to at least 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL, $41,560 per year for a family of three in 2018), including 19 states that cover children with incomes at or above 300% FPL. The ten-year extension of federal funding for CHIP approved by Congress provides states stable funding to maintain children's coverage and continues protections for children's coverage moving forward.There have been major gains in Medicaid eligibility for parents and other adults under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion, but eligibility remains limited in the 19 states that have not implemented the expansion. Among non-expansion states, the median eligibility level for parents is 43% FPL ($8,935 for a family of three in 2018) and other adults generally are ineligible. Alabama and Texas have the lowest parent eligibility limits at 18% FPL or $3,740 per year for a family of three. Additional states may expand Medicaid for adults in the coming year, which would reduce the number of poor uninsured adults who fall into the coverage gap. States moving forward with expansion may seek waivers to add requirements or restrictions for adults as a condition of expanding.Through significant investments of time and resources, most states have transformed their Medicaid and CHIP enrollment and renewal processes to provide a modernized, streamlined experience as outlined in the ACA. With these processes, a growing number of states are processing real-time eligibility determinations and automated renewals through electronic data matches with trusted data sources. Looking ahead, waivers and other proposed changes for adults, including premiums and cost sharing, work requirements, and lockout periods, require complex documentation and costly administrative processes that run counter to the simplified enrollment and renewal processes states have implemented under the ACA.

Women’s Connections to the Healthcare Delivery System: Key Findings from the 2017 Kaiser Women’s Health Survey

March 13, 2018

Women's ability to access the care they need depends greatly on the availability of high quality providers in their communities as well as their own knowledge about maintaining their health through routine checkups, screenings, and provider counseling. This brief presents findings from the 2017 Kaiser Women's Health Survey, a nationally representative survey of women ages 18 to 64 on their health status, relationships to regular providers and sites of care, and the frequency at which they receive routine preventive care. The Kaiser Family Foundation has conducted surveys on women's health care in 2001, 2004, 2008, and 2013. This brief focuses on findings from the newest 2017 survey and presents some findings compared to earlier years.

Kaiser Health  Tracking Poll – February 2018 : Health Care  and the 2018 Midterms, Attitudes Towards Proposed  Changes to Medicaid

February 27, 2018

With still a few months until the midterm elections are in full swing, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds health care costs as the top health care issue mentioned by voters when asked what they want to hear 2018 candidates discuss. When asked to say in their own words what health care issue they most want to hear the candidates talk about during their upcoming campaigns, one-fifth (22 percent) of registered voters mention health care costs. This is followed by a series of other health care issues, such as Medicare/senior concerns (8 percent), repealing or opposition to the Affordable Care Act (7 percent), improve how health care is delivered (7 percent), increasing access/decreasing the number of uninsured (6 percent), or a single-payer system (5 percent). Health care costs is the top issue mentioned by Democratic voters (16 percent) and independent voters (25 percent), as well as one of the top issues mentioned by Republican voters (22 percent), followed by repealing or opposing the ACA (17 percent).

Key Healthcare Proposals in Governors’ Proposed Budgets for SFY 2019 from a Preliminary Look at 32 States

February 15, 2018

Key Healthcare Proposals in Governors' Proposed Budgets for SFY 2019 from a Preliminary Look at 32 States.

Tracking Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers

December 12, 2017

Through Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states may apply for innovation waivers to alter key ACA requirements in the individual and small group insurance markets. States can use the flexibility granted by 1332 waiver authority to shore up fragile insurance markets, address unique state insurance market issues, or experiment with alternative models of providing coverage to state residents. With Congressional efforts to repeal and replace the ACA on hold, attention will likely turn to 1332 waivers as states explore ways to address access and affordability issues in their individual and small group markets.While the ACA provides states with some flexibility to alter certain provisions using 1332 waiver authority, it establishes guardrails that limit the extent of the changes states may make. The current statutory language requires that state waiver applications must demonstrate that the innovation plan will provide coverage that is at least as comprehensive in covered benefits; at least as affordable (taking into account premiums and excessive cost sharing); cover at least a comparable number of state residents; and not increase the federal deficit. The ACA requirements states may seek to waive using Section 1332 authority include:Individual and employer mandates;Essential health benefits (EHBs);Limits on cost sharing for covered benefits;Metal tiers of coverage;Standards for health insurance marketplaces, including requirements to establish a website, a call center, and a navigator program; andPremium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.Additionally, states may request an aggregate payment of what residents would otherwise have received in premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, referred to as subsidy pass-through funding. States may not waive certain provisions through section 1332, including guaranteed issue, age rating, and prohibitions on health status and gender rating. While states can submit ACA innovation waivers in conjunction with Medicaid waivers (under Sec. 1115 of the Social Security Act), innovation waivers cannot be used to change Medicaid program requirements.

How Many of the Uninsured Can Purchase a Marketplace Plan for Less than Their Shared Responsibility Penalty?

November 9, 2017

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded health insurance coverage by offering both penalties and incentives. The ACA expanded eligibility for Medicaid, and low and middle-income households who earn too much to qualify can purchase subsidized coverage on the health insurance marketplaces using premium assistance tax credits. Individuals, who do not obtain coverage, are subject to a tax penalty under the law's individual mandate unless they meet certain exemptions. While the percent of the population without health coverage has decreased substantially since the major coverage expansion in the ACA, about 10% of the population is still uninsured. Some of those who remain uninsured are eligible for premium subsidies large enough to cover the entire cost of a bronze plan, which is the minimum level of coverage people can buy to satisfy the individual mandate. Others could obtain coverage, after taking into account premium subsidies, for less than the penalty they would have to pay under the individual mandate. This analysis looks at the non-elderly uninsured eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan to determine how many of them would be financially better off enrolling in coverage than paying the penalty.

Health and Health Coverage in the South: A Data Update

February 1, 2016

With its recent adoption of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion to adults, Louisiana became the 32nd state to move forward with the expansion, and the 7th of the 17 states that make up the American South to expand. However, within the South, which has high rates of chronic disease and poor health outcomes, the majority of states still have not adopted the Medicaid expansion. The ACA and its Medicaid expansion offer important opportunities to expand access to health coverage, particularly in the South, where Medicaid and CHIP eligibility levels across groups have lagged behind other regions for many years.1 While many factors contribute to chronic disease and poor health outcomes, expanding health coverage can provide an important step in improving health by supporting individuals' ability to access preventive and primary care and ongoing treatment of health conditions. This brief provides key data on the South and the current status of health and health coverage in the South to provide greater insight into the health needs in the region and the potential coverage gains that may be achieved through the ACA. State specific data for the indicators presented in the brief are available in Tables 1 through 6.

Increasing Access to Care

The Uninsured at the Starting Line in California: California findings from the 2013 Kaiser Survey of Low-Income Americans and the ACA

February 14, 2014

This report, based on findings from the 2013 Kaiser Survey of Low-Income Americans and the ACA, provides a snapshot of health insurance coverage, health care use and barriers to care, and financial security among insured and uninsured California adults across the income spectrum at the starting line of ACA implementation. The survey, conducted between July and September 2013, is a nationally representative survey that also includes a state-representative sample of over 2,500 nonelderly (age 19-64) adults in California. It was designed to focus on the low- and moderate-income populations in the state and includes over-samples of people in the income range for financial assistance under the ACA (< 138% FPL for Medi-Cal and 139-400% FPL for Covered California), as well as a comparison group with incomes over 400% FPL. The survey includes adults with employer coverage, nongroup, Medi-Cal, and other sources of coverage, as well as those with no health insurance. The California component of the survey and report on its findings complements a report on similar findings for the nation. This survey and report provides new data to help policymakers further understand early challenges in implementing health reform and assist outreach and enrollment workers, health plans, and providers and health systems. This survey also provides a baseline for future assessment of the impact of the ACA in California on health coverage, access, and financial security of low- and moderate-income individuals.

The Uninsured

The Uninsured at the Starting Line: Findings from the 2013 Kaiser Survey of Low-Income Americans and the ACA

February 11, 2014

In January 2014, the major coverage provisions of the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into full effect. These provisions include the creation of new Health Insurance Marketplaces where low and moderate income families can receive premium tax credits to purchase coverage and, in states that opted to expand their Medicaid programs, the expansion of Medicaid eligibility to almost all adults with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL). The ACA has the potential to reach many of the 47 million Americans who lack insurance coverage, as well as millions of insured people who face financial strain or coverage limits related to health insurance. Though implementation is underway and people are already enrolling in coverage, policymakers continue to need information to inform coverage expansions. Data on the population targeted for coverage expansions can help policymakers target early efforts, provide insight into some of the challenges that are arising in the first months of new coverage, and evaluate the ACA's longer-term effects. The Kaiser Family Foundation has launched a new series of comprehensive surveys of the low and moderate income population to provide data on these groups' experience with health coverage, current patterns of care, and family situation. This report, based on the baseline 2013 Kaiser Survey of Low-Income Americans and the ACA, provides a snapshot of health insurance coverage, health care use and barriers to care, and financial security among insured and uninsured adults across the income spectrum at the starting line of ACA implementation. The report also examines how findings from the baseline survey can help policymakers understand and address early challenges in implementing health reform.

The Uninsured

State and Local Coverage Changes under Full Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

July 24, 2013

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 includes a number of new policies intended to substantially reduce the number of people without health insurance. Key provisions to be implemented in 2014 include new health insurance exchanges, subsidies for coverage in those exchanges, health insurance market reforms, and an individual mandate. The ACA also includes an expansion of Medicaid coverage to individuals with incomes up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($15,856 for an individual or $26,951 for family of three in 2013). The Medicaid expansion under the ACA became a state option following the Supreme Court ruling in June of 2012. At this point, it is not clear how many states will elect to expand Medicaid coverage. If all states were to do so, enrollment in Medicaid is projected to increase nationwide by about 18.1 million and the uninsured would decline by 23.1 million. This brief provides highlights from new state and sub-state estimates of how the number and composition of individuals enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP would change with full implementation of the ACA, including the Medicaid expansion (see kff.org/zooming-in-ACA). These estimates provide more detail on the projected coverage changes under the ACA at the state level than in prior research. They also provide new information on the expected coverage changes resulting from the ACA at the local level in all states. This analysis demonstrates that there is substantial variation across and within states in the magnitude and composition of the population that is projected to gain Medicaid coverage under the ACA. These estimates also provide guidance on the areas that are likely to experience the largest declines in the uninsured and where the residual uninsured are likely to be concentrated.

Implications for Medicaid/Medicare; Making the Transition