Northeast ranks best for health of women and children

The newest report by America’s Health Rankings finds that Massachusetts leads the nation in the health of women and children and residents of CSG-ERC states are generally healthier than average American women and children. The report examines 60 measures important to the health of women and children from health care services such as vaccines and check ups, to environmental factors such as safe homes, safe neighborhoods and health behaviors. Overall the report finds strong improvement in children’s preventive care, but racial and ethnic disparities persist in infant and child mortality. While the Northeast generally ranks higher than other regions, there is significant variation between and within states. The report includes detailed summaries for each state providing specific information on achievements and challenges.

  2016 State Rank for Women & Children’s Health
CT 4
DE 22
ME 11
MD 23
MA 1
NH 3
NJ 19
NY 20
PA 24
RI 9
VT 2

Where are the marketplaces offering bargains? Insurance premiums vary inside and outside ACA marketplaces

A new study by the Urban Institute finds health insurance premiums in the ACA marketplaces average 10% lower than employer-sponsored coverage but that ratio varies considerably by state. The study looked at unsubsidized premiums adjusted for actuarial value, as most employer coverage is more generous than marketplace plans, as well as utilization and age distribution. Researchers compared the average 2016 employer-sponsored full cost for single coverage with the average second-lowest premium for silver coverage for each state and selected communities. In most states and communities, marketplace premiums are lower than employer coverage. However, coverage costs in Delaware and Vermont’s marketplaces are among the 12 states that are higher. Marketplace consumers in Massachusetts are getting the best bargain in the US at 35% below employer-sponsored coverage. Among municipalities studied in the CSG-ERC region, Bridgeport and New Haven, CT as well as Burlington VT have higher premiums in their state marketplaces than in employer coverage. Marketplace consumers in Pittsburgh are getting the best bargain in the US at 43% below employer coverage.

  Employer coverage (adjusted) 2nd lowest cost marketplace coverage (adjusted) Relative difference
US avg $516 $464 -10%
CT $561 $556 -1%
DE $544 $561 3%
ME $517 $496 -4%
MD $539 $399 -26%
MA $564 $368 -35%
NH $569 $411 -28%
NJ $541 $461 -15%
NY $589 $480 -18%
PA $544 $394 -28%
RI $563 $415 -26%
VT $507 $582 15%

ERC state uninsured rates dropped, Medicaid grew from 2013 to last year

 

medicaid-changes-2013-to-15-erc-states

The percent of Americans without health coverage dropped from 14.5% in 2013 just before the Affordable Care Act was implemented to 9.4% last year, according to new Census data. Over 2 million more residents of the CSG-ERC region had health coverage last year than in 2013. All CSG-ERC state uninsured rates were below the US average ranging from Massachusetts with only 2.8% of residents without coverage to New Jersey where 8.7% of residents remained uninsured. Medicaid programs across the region grew by just over 1.5 million from 2013 to 2015, averaging 11.3% growth. Only Maine’s program shrank over the two years losing 32,000 people.

Uninsured 2015 Uninsured change 2013 to 2015
number percent number percent change
US 29.8 million 9.4% -15.4 million -5.1%
CT 211,000 6.0% -122,000 -3.4%
DE 54,000 5.9% -29,000 -3.3%
ME 111,000 8.4% -37,000 -2.8%
MA 189,000 2.8% -57,000 -0.9%
MD 389,000 6.6% -204,000 -3.6%
NH 83,000 6.3% -57,000 -4.4%
NJ 771,000 8.7% -389,000 -4.5%
NY 1.4 million 7.1% -689,000 -3.6%
PA 802,000 6.4% -420,000 -3.4%
RI 59,000 5.7% -61,000 -5.9%
VT 24,000 3.8% -21,000 -3.4%

 

GAO finds individual insurance markets concentrated in most states in 2014

Recent news about insurers leaving health insurance exchanges have raised concerns about lowering competition and rising prices for health insurance. Prior to 2014 health insurance markets in most states were highly concentrated, according to the US General Accounting Office. It was hoped that the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges would reverse that trend expand options for consumers through expanding competition. A new GAO report finds small decreases in competition in 2014 with ACA implementation for small or large group market competition, but individual coverage markets in most states continued the trend toward less competition. Only four states, including New York, saw an increase in the number of companies offering individual policies. The authors note that many exchanges were new in 2014; subsequent years experience will be important to assess the impact of the ACA.

 

State Net change in individual issuers 2013 to 2014 Largest individual issuer 2014 Market share for the largest individual issuer 2014
On exchange Overall individual market
CT -2 Wellpoint 54% 37%
DE -2 Highmark 88% 72%
ME -4 Maine Community Health Options 86% 55%
MD -4 CareFirst 93% 76%
MA -4 Neighborhood Health Plan 43% *
BCBS of MA * 30%
NH -4 Wellpoint 100% 91%
NJ -3 BCBS of NJ 58% 56%
NY +2 Freelancers Health Service 24% *
American Intl Grp * 15%
PA -5 Independence Health Grp 42% *
Highmark * 41%
RI -2 BCBS of RI 97% 94%
VT -2 BCBS of VT 91% 88%
* means the insurer was not the largest in that market