KHI News Service

New report outlines Kansas consequences of health reform

Independent actuary's study of the new law commissioned by KHPA

By Jim McLean | May 17, 2010

The likely consequences of federal health reform for Kansas are detailed in a new report scheduled for public release Tuesday during a meeting of the Kansas Health Policy Authority board.

The analysis, prepared for the board by schramm-raleigh Health Strategy, Inc., a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based consulting firm, includes projections about how many of the state’s approximately 335,000 uninsured will gain coverage under the new law, the cost to the state of expanding Medicaid and the likely impact on employers and insurance companies.

The most significant provisions of the new reform law become effective in 2014. That’s when Medicaid eligibility will be expanded and federal subsidies for purchase of private health insurance become available for low-wage workers.

“We have spent a lot of time and energy sifting through the very long federal health reform bill and applying economic models to estimate the impact it will have on the state of Kansas,” said Peter Hancock, a spokesman for the health policy authority. “To our knowledge there are very few other states going through a similar process.”

An earlier analysis of health reform bills that emerged last summer from U.S. House committees and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee estimated those proposals, if enacted, would cover between 190,000 and 240,000 uninsured Kansans and produce between $25 million and $50 million in savings to the state budget.

The report to be presented Tuesday will update those numbers to reflect the final reform measure and analyze how it likely will affect large and small employers and the individual and small group insurance markets.

Hancock said the report will describe the shifts in the marketplace expected to result from the Medicaid expansion, stepped up insurance regulation and the creation of health insurance purchasing exchanges that will offer a range of plans to individuals and small employers.

“We think this is the beginning of a discussion that is going to continue for some time,” he said.

The report was underwritten by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund.

The KHPA meeting is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at HP Enterprise Services (Building #283) at Forbes Field, 6700 SW Topeka Blvd.