Publications: Health Insurance

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The 2008 Presidential Candidates' Health Reform Proposals: Choices for America

October 2, 2008 - This analysis examines key differences and areas of agreement in the health system reform proposals of presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama. The report describes how each candidate would seek to expand health insurance coverage, improve the quality and efficiency of the health system, and control costs

Fund Report

A 2020 Vision for American Health Care

December 25, 2000 - The problem of nearly 43 million Americans without health insurance could be virtually eliminated in a single generation through a health plan based on universal, automatic coverage that allows choice of plan and provider. The proposal could be paid for, according to Fund President Davis and coauthors, by using the quarter of the federal budget surplus which results from savings in Medicare and Medicaid.


The 2nd Annual EBRI/Commonwealth Fund Consumerism in Health Care Survey, 2006: Early Experience With High-Deductible and Consumer-Driven Health Plans

December 7, 2006 - Consumer-driven health plans are not catching on, according to a survey released today by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and The Commonwealth Fund. Enrollment in consumer-driven plans remains small, and satisfaction continues to be lower compared with more comprehensive health insurance.

Issue Brief

Access and Affordability: An Update on Health Reform in Massachusetts, Fall 2008

May 28, 2009 - More than two years after implementation of its landmark health insurance reforms, Massachusetts had achieved historically high levels of coverage and widespread improvements in access to care, according to this study—the latest in a series of reform updates, funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In the Literature

Access to Care and Use of Preventive Services by Hispanics: State-Based Variations from 1991 to 2004

November 13, 2009 - Access to doctors and use of mammography, cholesterol testing, and other preventive services improved for both white and Hispanic patients nationally from 1991 to 2004, Fund-supported researchers reported in the journal Medical Care. Gaps in access to care, however, widened between whites and Hispanics in individual states, including Texas and Florida.

In the Literature

Access to Health Insurance at Small Establishments: What Can We Learn from Analyzing Other Fringe Benefits?

November 9, 2009 - A Commonwealth Fund–supported study in the journal Inquiry found that workers employed by small businesses are less likely than those in large ones to be offered health insurance. Administrative costs are a major reason why so many smaller firms do not offer health benefits to their employees.

In the Literature

Achieving Better Quality of Care for Low-Income Populations: The Roles of Health Insurance and the Medical Home in Reducing Health Inequities

May 16, 2012 - A new analysis of the Commonwealth Fund 2010 Biennial Health Insurance Survey demonstrates that when low-income adults have both health insurance and a medical home, they are less likely to report cost-related access problems, more likely to be up-to-date with preventive screenings, and report greater satisfaction with the quality of their care.

Issue Brief

Achieving Health Care Reform—How Physicians Can Help

May 21, 2009 - Rather than wait and see how health reform legislation unfolds, physicians should help lead the effort to establish affordable, high-quality health care in this country, say Elliott S. Fisher, M.D, M.P.H., Donald M. Berwick, M.D., M.P.P., and Karen Davis, Ph.D., in a New England Journal of Medicine "Perspectives" column.

Literature Abstract

Administrative Costs for Advance Payment of Health Coverage Tax Credits: An Initial Analysis

March 28, 2007 - New federal initiatives to cover the uninsured include many proposals to use fully refundable federal income tax credits to subsidize uninsured individuals' purchase of coverage. A new Fund issue brief points out that policymakers can learn from the country's only current use of tax credits to cover the uninsured--the Health Coverage Tax Credits (HCTCs).

Issue Brief

The Affordability Crisis in U.S. Health Care: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey

March 3, 2004 - Rising health care costs and growing instability in insurance coverage have made health reform a key issue in this election year, a Commonwealth Fund survey shows. Nearly six of 10 Americans (57%) say presidential and congressional candidates' views on health reform will be a "very important" factor in their vote this November.

Fund Report

Affordable Care Act Reforms Could Reduce the Number of Underinsured U.S. Adults by 70 Percent

September 8, 2011 - The number of U.S. adults who had health insurance all year but were still "underinsured"—that is, they had very high medical expenses relative to their incomes—rose by 80 percent between 2003 and 2010, from 16 million to 29 million, according to a new Commonwealth Fund study published in the September issue of Health Affairs.

In the Literature

Allowing Small Businesses and the Self-Employed to Buy Health Care Coverage Through Public Programs

December 9, 2000 - This report examines the need for a coverage initiative that fosters greater access to affordable benefits through employment, particularly in light of the strong support that employment-based coverage enjoys among the public. Under this proposed program, states would organize a group health insurance market for small firms with low-wage workers.

Fund Report

Americans' Experiences in the Health Insurance Marketplaces: Results from the First Month

November 4, 2013 - This Commonwealth Fund survey found that more than half of U.S. adults who are potentially eligible for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, but who have not yet signed up for a plan, say they will likely try to enroll or to find out about financial help by the end of March 2014, the close of the open enrollment period.

Data Brief

Americans' Experiences in the Health Insurance Marketplaces: Results from the First Three Months

January 9, 2014 - A new Commonwealth Fund survey finds that 24 percent of Americans who are potentially eligible for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act had visited one of the new insurance marketplaces by the end of December to find a health plan.

Data Brief

America's Underinsured: A State-by-State Look at Health Insurance Affordability Prior to the New Coverage Expansions

March 25, 2014 - Thirty-two million people under age 65 were underinsured in the U.S. in 2012, meaning they had health coverage but it provided inadequate protection against high health care costs relative to their income. This report finds that the rate of underinsured ranged from a low of 8 percent in New Hampshire to highs of 17 percent in Idaho and Utah.

Fund Report