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Did You Know?

Employer Coverage Expands Under Reform, But Not Necessarily to Workers 
Eighteen months after passage of the national health care overhaul, American employers report an average 2 percent increase in insurance enrollments. Study authors attribute the expansion in coverage to workers taking advantage of new rules allowing them to add their adult children (up to age 26) to existing policies.

Malpractice Payouts: Just 1 in 5 Cases
Every year about 1 in 14 doctors is subject of a malpractice claim, but only about 20 percent of those claims will ever result in a payout. Study coauthor Amitabh Chandra, an economist and professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government noted that this shouldn’t be taken as an indication that most suits are frivolous—just a tiny fraction of patients actually harmed by medical mistakes ever file claims due to the high costs associated with doing so. 

Paperwork to the Rescue: Will Standardized Forms Make Insurance Purchasing Easier?
The Obama administration has proposed that health insurers and employers begin using simple, standardized information forms early next year to describe health plan benefits and costs in simple, easy-to-understand terms so that consumers can comparison shop for the best coverage. For instance, plans would be required to produce a standardized, four-page benefits summary and two pages of explanatory material modeled after the nutrition labels on prepared foods. The forms will show, among other things, how much a plan will pay for some common medical conditions.

Health Insurance Premiums Widely Vary from State to State
The average cost of individual coverage in Alabama is just $136 a month, but 1,300 miles away in Vermont it’s about three times that amount: about $400. Massachusetts is similarly expensive, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation report. The national average was $215. Study authors predict that the new federal health care law will reduce the variation in premiums, but not erase it entirely due to cost of living differences and other factors.

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