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  • Health insurance


    Health insurance is insurance that covers the whole or a part of the risk of a person incurring medical expenses, spreading the risk over a large number of persons. By estimating the overall risk of health care and health system expenses over the risk pool, an insurer can develop a routine finance structure, such as a monthly premium or payroll tax, to provide the money to pay for the health care benefits specified in the insurance agreement. The benefit is administered by a central organization such as a government agency, private business, or not-for-profit entity. According to the Health Insurance Association of America, health insurance is defined as "coverage that provides for the payments of benefits as a result of sickness or injury. It includes insurance for losses from accident, medical expense, disability, or accidental death and dismemberment" (p. 225).

  • Health care in the United States


    Health care in the United States is provided by many distinct organizations. Health care facilities are largely owned and operated by private sector businesses. 58% of US community hospitals are non-profit, 21% are government owned, and 21% are for-profit. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States spent more on health care per capita ($9,403), and more on health care as percentage of its GDP (17.1%), than any other nation in 2014. Despite being among the top world economic powers, the US remains the sole industrialized nation in the world without universal health care coverage. In 2013, 64% of health spending was paid for by the government, and funded via programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Veterans Health Administration. People aged under 65 acquire insurance via their or a family member's employer, by purchasing health insurance on their own, or are uninsured. Health insurance for public sector employees is primarily provided by the government in its role as employer. The United States life expectancy is 78.6 years at birth, up from 75.2 years in 1990; this ranks 42nd among 224 nations, and 22nd out of the 35 industrialized OECD countries, down from 20th in 1990. In 2016 and 2017 life expectancy in the U.S. dropped for the first time since 1993. Of 17 high-income countries studied by the National Institutes of Health, the United States in 2013 had the highest or near-highest prevalence of obesity, car accidents, infant mortality, heart and lung disease, sexually transmitted infections, adolescent pregnancies, injuries, and homicides. A 2014 survey of the healthcare systems of 11 developed countries found that the US healthcare system to be the most expensive and worst-performing in terms of health access, efficiency, and equity. Prohibitively high cost is the primary reason Americans have problems accessing health care. Consulting company Gallup recorded that the uninsured rate among U.S. adults was 11.9% for the first quarter of 2015, continuing the decline of the uninsured rate outset by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). At over 27 million, higher than the entire population of Australia, the number of people without health insurance coverage in the United States is one of the primary concerns raised by advocates of health care reform. Lack of health insurance is associated with increased mortality, about sixty thousand preventable deaths per year, depending on the study. A study done at Harvard Medical School with Cambridge Health Alliance showed that nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with a lack of patient health insurance. The study also found that uninsured, working Americans have an approximately 40% higher mortality risk compared to privately insured working Americans. In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) became law, enacting major changes in health insurance. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the law in June 2012 and affirmed insurance exchange subsidies in all states in June 2015.

  • Federal Employees Health Benefits Program


    The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program is a system of "managed competition" through which employee health benefits are provided to civilian government employees and annuitants of the United States government. The government contributes 72% of the weighted average premium of all plans, not to exceed 75% of the premium for any one plan (calculated separately for individual and family coverage). The FEHB program allows some insurance companies, employee associations, and labor unions to market health insurance plans to governmental employees. The program is administered by the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

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