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Daily Archives: January 7, 2014

Medical Debt Among People With Health Insurance

Kaiser Family Foundation: ” With one in three Americans reporting that they have difficulty paying their medical bills, this report looks at some of the reasons Americans encounter medical debt, even when they have insurance, by drawing insights from the experiences of nearly two dozen people who recently experienced such problems. This report identifies common causes and consequences of medical debt, and discusses the triggers of medical debt that will and will not be affected by the Affordable Care Act. It finds that health plan cost-sharing is a primary contributor to medical debt.  Even relatively modest cost sharing can prove unaffordable because expenses often are unexpected and most Americans have less than $3,000 on hand to cover such costs. For many, unaffordable cost-sharing may be compounded by other factors:

  • Out-of-network expenses may also arise, often inadvertently for people who are hospitalized when hospital-based providers aren’t in the plan network
  • Health care providers tend to promptly refer patients who can’t pay to collections
  • Patients may use credit cards to pay unaffordable medical bills, which increases debt
  • Illness often triggers income loss, further aggravating affordability problems
  • People facing health issues may have trouble tracking medical expenses and resolving billing problems on their own.
  • Medical debt is also linked to housing instability, reduced retirement savings, damaged credit, bankruptcy and barriers to accessing care.”

National Health Spending In 2012 Marks Fourth Year of Low Growth

“In 2012 U.S. health care spending increased 3.7 percent to reach $2.8 trillion, or $8,915 per person, the fourth consecutive year of slow growth. The share of the economy devoted to health spending decreased from 17.3 percent in 2011 to 17.2 percent in 2012, as the Gross Domestic Product increased nearly one percentage point fasterContinue Reading

Consumer Privacy Framework Needs to Reflect Changes in Technology and the Marketplace

INFORMATION RESELLERS: Consumer Privacy Framework Needs to Reflect Changes in Technology and the Marketplace, GAO-14-251T, Dec 18, 2013 “No overarching federal privacy law governs the collection and sale of personal information among private-sector companies, including information resellers. Instead, laws tailored to specific purposes, situations, or entities govern the use, sharing, and protection of personal information. For example,Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Compacts of Free Association, Defense Infrastructure, Iranian Commercial Activities

COMPACTS OF FREE ASSOCIATION – Actions Needed to Improve Oversight and Accountability of U.S. Assistance to Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, GAO-14-243T, Jan 7, 2014 DEFENSE INFRASTRUCTURE – Army Brigade Combat Team Inactivations Informed by Analyses, but Actions Needed to Improve Stationing Process, GAO-14-76, Dec 11, 2013 IRANIAN COMMERCIAL ACTIVITIES – Foreign Firms Reported to Have Engaged in Certain ActivitiesContinue Reading

Health Impact Assessment of Shale Gas Extraction: Workshop Summary (2014)

“Natural gas extraction from shale formations, which includes hydraulic fracturing, is increasingly in the news as the use of extraction technologies has expanded, rural communities have been transformed seemingly overnight, public awareness has increased, and regulations have been developed. The governmental public health system, which retains primary responsibility for health, was not an early participantContinue Reading

Census Bureau Reports Almost One in Three Americans Were Poor at Least Two Months from 2009 to 2011

“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 31.6 percent of Americans were in poverty for at least two months from 2009 to 2011, a 4.5 percentage point increase over the prerecession period of 2005 to 2007. Poverty was a temporary state for most people; however, 3.5 percent of Americans were in poverty for the entire three-yearContinue Reading

Infographics Highlight the History and Measurement of Poverty

“A new infographic, “Poverty: The History of a Measure,” presents a timeline of major milestones in the Census Bureau’s effort to measure poverty since President Johnson’s January 1964 declaration of his “War on Poverty” 50 years ago. A companion infographic, “How Census Measures Poverty,” examines differences between the nation’s official poverty measure and the supplemental povertyContinue Reading

Statistics on payment, clearing and settlement systems in the CPSS countries – Figures for 2012

“This is an annual publication that provides data on payments and payment, clearing and settlement systems in the CPSS countries. This version of the statistical update contains data for 2012 and earlier years. There are detailed tables for each individual country as well as a number of comparative tables. A preliminary version was published in September 2013.” Full publicationContinue Reading

BIS – Property price statistics

“The property price statistics bring together data from different countries. The BIS, with the assistance of its member central banks, 1 has obtained approval of various national data providers to disseminate the statistics as long as the original national sources are clearly indicated. The sources and any relevant disclaimers are listed separately (sources of data). Copyright in these data mustContinue Reading

Books that Shaped Work in America

“In honor of its Centennial this year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) — in partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress — is developing a list of Books that Shaped Work in America. The idea for this list derived from the Books that Shaped America exhibition sponsored by the Library ofContinue Reading