The Commonwealth Fund, in its annual survey, "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall", compares the performance of the health care systems in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and the U.S. Its 2007 study found that, although the U.S. system is the most expensive, it consistently under-performs compared to the other countries.[6] One difference between the U.S. and the other countries in the study is that the U.S. is the only country without universal health insurance coverage.

If keeping your doctor and provider is critical to you, it’s important that you check now with the health insurance carriers in your area and your own doctors’ offices to get up-to-date network information. Carriers must update their provider directories at least monthly, and the directories must include information about which providers are accepting new patients, along with their specialty, location, and contact information. In addition, the directory must be easily available online without requiring the user to create an account or enter a policy number.


Carrin, Guy; James, Chris (January 2005). "Social health insurance: Key factors affecting the transition towards universal coverage" (PDF). International Social Security Review. 58 (1): 45–64. doi:10.1111/j.1468-246x.2005.00209.x. Retrieved 10 March 2013. Initially the health insurance law of 1883 covered blue-collar workers in selected industries, craftspeople and other selected professionals.6 It is estimated that this law brought health insurance coverage up from 5 to 10 per cent of the total population.

As it turns out, both sets of the headlines are true—in some areas, premiums are going down for a variety of reasons. But in most areas, premiums are also going to be higher than they might otherwise have been without various government decisions. Let's sort through all the noise and figure out what's really happening to your health insurance premiums.


Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.
It’s true that there will be more loosely-regulated coverage options available in 2019, thanks to the expansion of short-term plans, association health plans, and state-based alternatives to ACA-compliant plans. And there will no longer be a direct penalty for relying on those types of coverage. But they all have drawbacks, so read the fine print carefully if you’re considering them.
The Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) was put in place under the Affordable Care Act, with the purpose of ensuring health providers offer value to their members. The Medical Loss Ratio is scored from 0% to 100%, and measures the amount of money from member premiums spent by health insurers on members’ claims rather than overhead costs. For example, if a health insurance company allocates $0.90 of every dollar to cover medical claims, and the remaining $0.10 to cover overhead costs, the MLR score for that insurer would be 90%.
This year’s enrollment period offers good news to many Americans. After two years of carriers leaving markets and steep rate increases, states are seeing carriers re-enter exchanges for 2019 – and average rate increases are smaller than they were in 2017 and 2018.  And, although premium subsidies will be slightly decreased in 2019 (though not in all states), those eligible for cost-sharing reductions will continue to receive them.
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