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Health insurance costs are about to go up. Maybe way up. – Poynter

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For those of you who have private health insurance (insurance provided by your employer, for example), prices will increase by 10% on average, based on initial data from states.

Reading: Why are health insurance premiums going up

But if Congress doesn’t act soon enough, insurance rates will rise much higher for the 13 million Americans who get insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, and 1 million Americans will face insurance costs from health that are double what they pay today.

This is a bit complex but very important, so I’ll go into it in detail.

First, let’s talk about private health care costs. In recent years, private health insurance rates have remained almost flat. In part, that’s because people didn’t use their health insurance as much during the pandemic because they couldn’t have elective surgery and didn’t see their doctors as often. But as restrictions eased, people started using their health insurance more.

now according to the kaiser family foundation, based on a review of data from 13 states, it looks like health insurance costs will rise about 10% this year. Rates will vary by location, but also by how much employers pay or transfer. larger employers can sometimes make better deals with insurers.

peterson-kaiser family foundation health system tracker says:

At the time of this summary, we have collected data from 72 insurers in 13 states and the District of Columbia. (The 13 states reviewed include: Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, and Washington.) these presentations are preliminary and may change during the review process. rates will be finalized in late summer.

So far, we found that across 72 insurers in 13 states and the District of Columbia, the average proposed premium increase is about 10%. most changes in premiums that insurers are asking for for 2023 fall between about 5% and 14% (the 25th and 75th percentiles, respectively). Compared to recent years, relatively few insurers are requesting to lower their premiums, with only 4 of 72 insurers reporting negative premium changes and the remaining 68 insurers requesting premium increases.

Insurers say about half the increase is because people are using more of their health care benefits now and about half is due to inflation. The Associated Press has an easy-to-read story on the estimates. Here’s Peterson-KFF’s Health Systems Tracker with a much more detailed rundown of what’s driving private insurance costs through 2023.

Let’s now turn to the market insurance premiums for aca, commonly known as obamacare. Congress is likely to extend the program that prevents these costs from rising. But, as you know, nothing is certain in Congress these days. If Congress doesn’t act, customers here will get notice that their rates will go up a lot around October 1st.

my friend larry levitt, executive vice president of health policy at kff, has been telling classes I lead across the country that journalists need to pay attention to whether congress extends health care coverage under the plan law American rescue.

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Before the pandemic-linked harp, people earning more than four times the federal poverty level were not eligible for subsidies under the aca. people whose incomes exceed the level even slightly would have to pay full price for coverage, making it unaffordable for many.

when congress passed harp, it changed the calculation of who could receive subsidized health care in the aca market. the new calculation was based on a percentage of income spent on health care, so people with higher incomes would pay no more than 8.5% of their income for coverage under the silver plan, the most basic plan on the market .

but now congress has to decide whether to make the new harp rule permanent, or return to four times the poverty level income as the limit for subsidies to cover health insurance. the cost of the subsidy is about $22 billion a year.

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Current subsidies expire at the end of the year. there is no doubt that this will become an electoral issue.

Journalists should ask candidates if they support extending ARPA’s health care subsidies. sen. Joe Manchin, the senate’s swing vote, has indicated he will support the harp extension, but (for now) wants a bill that doesn’t include other spending, including climate action or tax increases on the wealthiest Americans. /p>

If Congress doesn’t extend the harp, millions of Americans will receive notices in the mail telling them their insurance rates are about to skyrocket just weeks before the midterm elections. will spark new attacks on Democrats for failing to control health care costs.

Levitt told our seminar participants that if Congress doesn’t extend harp subsidies, some people will pay more than $100 a month more for basic coverage. But since coverage costs more or less depending on where you live, some people may end up paying twice as much for coverage.

kaiser family foundation estimates:

A 40-year-old with an income of just over four times the poverty level living in West Virginia or Wyoming would have to pay an average of 18% of their income for a Silver plan without ARPA subsidies. that’s an increase of more than 100% in your premium payments. meanwhile, the same person living in one of the six low-premium states (colorado, maryland, michigan, minnesota, new hampshire, and rhode island) already pays less than 8.5% of their income for an unsubsidized silver premium .

A 64-year-old in-market enrollee earning just over four times the poverty level in West Virginia or Wyoming would have to pay more than 40% of his or her income for a silver plan if he or she lost access to subsidy. harp.

kaiser provides this calculation as an illustration of how a person would be affected:

on average in the us. In the US, a 40-year-old with income just over four times the poverty level ($51,520 per year for people who buy coverage in 2022), will see their premium payments increase from 8.5% of their income to about 10% of your income if the harp subsidies expire. the typical 40-year-old would go from having subsidized monthly payments of $365 to $438 unsubsidized, or an increase in their premium payment of about 20% simply due to the loss of subsidies. that’s before accounting for any increase in the unsubsidized premium from 2022 to 2023.

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Go to this interactive map to see state-by-state estimates of what this increase could cost if Congress doesn’t extend the harp:

by the way, our poynter midterm core workshops are going to columbus, ohio, and then to philadelphia next week. the classes are full. we ended up at st. petersburg in august. We’ll be recording that last session and making it available for free soon so you can get the above information directly from Larry Levitt himself. I’ll let you know when we post the videos.

this weekend essay in the new york times by andrea stanley caught my attention and got me thinking about my own contributions to the problem.

The essay looks at how light pollution makes it difficult to enjoy the night sky in much of the country, even in what used to be a dark-sky country.

some of it is light from street lamps. some are from others like me who send light into the night with landscape lighting. the essay caught my attention with this line, “what’s the point of a lit bush at 2 am?”

the essay includes this passage:

According to a 2016 study published in the journal Science Advances, 83% of the world’s population lives under light-polluted skies and a third of humans cannot see the Milky Way. Later findings, in the same journal, noted that the amount of land touched by light increases by about two percent each year.

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“light pollution is absolutely increasing,” ashley wilson, director of conservation for the international dark sky association (ida), an organization that works to combat light pollution, told me. “not even our use of light, but the excessive use of it. There was a report released earlier this year by the Department of Energy that stated that 99 percent of the light we emit has no clear purpose. boggles my mind. my analogy is with water. You never want to leave your sprinklers on all night hoping they will water a specific potted plant. why are we doing the same thing with our light?”

an article from national geographic reported that light pollution has other effects:

Artificial light can wreak havoc on the natural rhythms of the body in both humans and animals. night light disrupts sleep and confuses the circadian rhythm, the 24-hour internal clock that guides day and night activities and affects physiological processes in almost all living organisms. one of these processes is the production of the hormone melatonin, which is released when it is dark and is inhibited when there is light. more light at night reduces melatonin production, which leads to poor sleep, fatigue, headaches, stress, anxiety, and other health problems.

And artificial light also causes big problems for animals, especially sea turtles and migratory birds:

Studies show that light pollution is also affecting animal behavior, such as migration patterns, waking and sleeping habits, and habitat formation. Due to light pollution, sea turtles and birds guided by the light of the moon during migration become confused, lost and often die. a large number of insects, a primary food source for birds and other animals, are attracted to artificial lights and are killed instantly upon contact with the light sources. birds are also affected by this, and many cities have adopted a “lights out” program to turn off lights in buildings during bird migration.

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There’s even a group called the International Dark Sky Association that “works to protect the night skies.” the group maps locations that are part of the dark sky places program.

Locations fall into several categories, all of which could be great news, especially given the interest in recent space telescope photos:

The International Dark Sky Sites Program offers five types of designations:

  • International Dark Sky Communities: Communities are legally organized cities and towns that adopt quality outdoor lighting ordinances and strive to educate residents about the importance of dark skies.
  • International Dark Sky Parks: Parks are publicly or privately owned spaces protected for natural conservation that implement good outdoor lighting and offer dark sky programs for visitors.
  • International Dark Sky Reserves: Reserves consist of a dark “core” area surrounded by a populated periphery where policy controls are enacted to protect the darkness from the center.
  • International Dark Sky Sanctuaries: Sanctuaries are the most remote (and often darkest) places in the world with the most fragile conservation status.
  • Urban Night Sky Sites: UNSPs are sites near or surrounded by large urban settings whose planning and design actively promote an authentic nighttime experience amid significant artificial light at night, and which do not otherwise qualify for designation within any other international framework category of dark sky locations.
  • axios brings us a good rethink on boredom with studies showing that boredom is good for us. most of us are fiddling with our devices and browsing all day long and that leaves no time for our brains to relax, wander and create. but, axios points out:

    In one study, published in the Academy of Management Discovery, researchers bored a group by telling them to sort beans by color. another group was given a much more interesting craft to do.

    After that, each group was asked to come up with good excuses for being late. the bored group outperformed their counterparts in both numbers and creativity of ideas, as judged by an outside target group.

    another study concluded that boredom motivates people to seek novelty. our mind wanders when we are bored and think of new things to try.

    Another researcher found that boredom can be especially helpful for children who, the study found, need unstructured time to create their own thoughts and activities.

    All of this explains why nearly two-thirds of people surveyed say some of their best thoughts occur in the shower. It’s not the shower that helps you; it is being disconnected from everything, even for a few minutes, which frees you to think creatively.

    maybe we shouldn’t ask “what are you doing this weekend?” instead, we might ask, “what aren’t you doing this weekend?” dare to be bored.

    We’ll be back next week with a new edition of covid-19 coverage. You are subscribed? sign up here to receive it directly to your inbox.

    See also: What does it cost to see a doctor without insurance

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