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Matthew Buettgens


Senior Research Associate
Health Policy Center

Matthew Buettgens, PhD, is a mathematician leading the development of the Urban Institute's Health Insurance Policy Simulation (HIPSM) model. The model is currently being used to provide technical assistance for health reform implementation in Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Virginia, and Washington as well as to the federal government. His recent work includes a number of papers analyzing various aspects of national health insurance reform, both nationally and state-by-state. Topics have included the costs and savings of health reform for both federal and state governments, state-by-state analysis of changes in health insurance coverage and the remaining uninsured, the effect of reform on employers, the role of the individual mandate, the affordability of coverage under health insurance exchanges, and the implications of age rating for the affordability of coverage. Dr. Buettgens was previously a major developer of the HIRSM model—the predecessor to HIPSM—used in the design of the 2006 roadmap to universal health insurance coverage in the state of Massachusetts.

Publications


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Eligibility for Assistance and Projected Changes in Coverage Under the ACA: Variation Across States : May 2014 Update (Policy Briefs/Timely Analysis of Health Policy Issues)
Matthew Buettgens, Genevieve M. Kenney, Hannah Recht

The authors estimate that in 2014, 56 percent of the uninsured became eligible for financial assistance with health insurance coverage through Medicaid, CHIP, or subsidized marketplace coverage. In states that expanded Medicaid eligibility, 68 percent of the uninsured became eligible for assistance, compared with only 44 percent in states that did not. Because of this difference in eligibility, the ACA is projected to reduce the number of uninsured people by 56 percent in states that expanded Medicaid, compared with only 34 percent in states that did not. The authors also provide estimates of what would happen if states that have not yet expanded Medicaid were to do so.

Posted to Web: May 28, 2014Publication Date: May 28, 2014

Why Not Just Eliminate the Employer Mandate? (Policy Briefs/Timely Analysis of Health Policy Issues)
Linda J. Blumberg, John Holahan, Matthew Buettgens

Employers of 50 or more workers are required to provide health insurance or pay a penalty. This requirement has been delayed until 2015 for employers with 100 and more workers and until 2016 for those with 50-99 workers. But there are reports of changes in employer labor practices, such as reducing the hours of part-time workers and concerns about increasing workforce above 50 workers. In this brief we argue that the employer mandate should simply be eliminated. We show that it would not reduce insurance coverage significantly, but it would eliminate the labor market distortions that have troubled employer groups and that could have negative effects on some workers. The penalties on employers do bring in some new revenues that would have to be replaced.

Posted to Web: May 09, 2014Publication Date: May 09, 2014

Measuring Marketplace Enrollment Relative to Enrollment Projections: Update (Policy Briefs/Health Policy Briefs)
Linda J. Blumberg, John Holahan, Genevieve M. Kenney, Matthew Buettgens, Nathaniel Anderson, Hannah Recht, Stephen Zuckerman

This brief compares Affordable Care Act Marketplace enrollment as of April 19, 2014 (the most recent state-specific data) to projected enrollment for 2014 and 2016 and estimates of the number of people eligible for subsidies. Nationally, by April 19, the Marketplaces had enrolled 115 percent of projected 2014 enrollment. Collectively, both State-Based Marketplaces (SBMs) and Federally Facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs) exceeded projected enrollment. However, there is considerable variation across the states within each group.

Posted to Web: May 01, 2014Publication Date: May 01, 2014

Measuring Marketplace Enrollment Relative to Enrollment Projections (Research Report)
Linda J. Blumberg, Genevieve M. Kenney, Matthew Buettgens, John Holahan, Nathaniel Anderson, Hannah Recht, Stephen Zuckerman

This brief compares Affordable Care Act Marketplace enrollment as of March 1, 2014 (the most recent state-specific data) to projected enrollment for 2014 and 2016 and estimates of the number of people eligible for subsidies. Nationally, by March 1, the Marketplaces had enrolled 61 percent of projected 2014 enrollment of subsidized and unsubsidized individuals. They had enrolled 63 percent of the subsidized population expected to enroll in 2014. Collectively, State-Based Marketplaces (SBMs) have been more successful in reaching projected enrollment than the Federally Facilitated Marketplaces (FFMs), with SBMs overall also having significantly higher rates of subsidized enrollment than FFMs.

Posted to Web: April 02, 2014Publication Date: April 02, 2014

Overlapping Eligibility and Enrollment: Human Services and Health Programs Under the Affordable Care Act (Research Report)
Stan Dorn, Julia Isaacs, Sarah Minton, Erika Huber, Paul Johnson, Matthew Buettgens, Laura Wheaton

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created new opportunities for health and human services programs to integrate eligibility determination, enrollment, and retention. Using two large microsimulation models—the Transfer Income Model, Version 3, and the Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model—we find considerable overlaps between expanded eligibility for health coverage and current receipt of human services benefits, particularly with Earned Income Tax Credits, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. In an appendix, we identify specific data sharing strategies that seek to increase participation, lower administrative costs, and prevent errors.

Posted to Web: February 18, 2014Publication Date: December 01, 2013

Tax Preparers Could Help Most Uninsured Get Covered (Policy Briefs/Timely Analysis of Health Policy Issues)
Stan Dorn, Matthew Buettgens, Jay Dev

More than 74% of uninsured consumers who qualify for ACA health coverage file federal income tax returns. This includes over 90% of consumers under age 35 who qualify for subsidies in health insurance marketplaces. Most low-income taxpayers use tax preparers, including 64.6% of EITC claimants, more than 78% of whom file by March 31, the final day of open enrollment. State and federal officials and private leaders concerned about ACA enrollment should seriously explore partnering with commercial and nonprofit tax preparers to reach the eligible uninsured and move towards a healthy, balanced risk pool.

Posted to Web: February 18, 2014Publication Date: February 18, 2014

Will Those With Cancelled Insurance Policies Be Better Off in ACA Marketplaces? (Policy Briefs/Timely Analysis of Health Policy Issues)
John Holahan, Linda J. Blumberg, Matthew Buettgens

In recent months, there has been considerable focus on cancellations of nongroup health insurance policies. It is difficult to directly obtain data on premiums that individuals were paying prior to the ACA, but we can provide data on the premium cost to enrollees for the lowest cost bronze plans and the second lowest cost silver plans by age and income group in each state. We conclude that it would be difficult for the majority of individuals, particularly those qualifying for subsidies, to obtain coverage for a lower premium than those available in the Marketplaces today. Unsubsidized individuals, particularly those in older age groups, are more likely to face higher premiums.

Posted to Web: January 24, 2014Publication Date: January 23, 2014

Using Past Income Data to Verify Current Medicaid Eligibility (Research Report)
Stan Dorn, Matthew Buettgens, Christopher Hildebrand, Habib Moody

Using data from the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation, we find that information about past income and employment that is available to state Medicaid programs can potentially verify (a) initial financial eligibility for between 55 and 79 percent of eligible applicants and (b) renewed eligibility for between 60 and 71 percent of eligible enrollees. Verifying eligibility based on data matches, rather than documentation from consumers, could lower administrative costs; cut paperwork burdens for consumers, thereby increasing participation levels among those who qualify for help; and prevent eligibility errors.

Posted to Web: October 14, 2013Publication Date: October 14, 2013

Administrative Renewal, Accuracy of Redetermination Outcomes, and Administrative Costs (Research Report)
Stan Dorn, Matthew Buettgens

When a Medicaid beneficiary approaches the end of a 12-month enrollment period, coverage should be "administratively renewed," according to ACA a regulation, if "reliable information" shows the beneficiary remains eligible. The beneficiary is sent a notice explaining the basis for renewal and the legal duty to make needed corrections. If none are forthcoming, coverage continues. We find that using administrative renewal should lower the number of mistaken outcomes if it is used with beneficiaries known to have an 80 percent or greater likelihood of eligibility. However, administrative renewal will change most mistakes from incorrect terminations to incorrect renewals.

Posted to Web: October 14, 2013Publication Date: October 14, 2013

Eligibility for Assistance and Projected Changes in Coverage Under the ACA: Variation Across States (Research Report)
Matthew Buettgens, Genevieve M. Kenney, Hannah Recht, Victoria Lynch

This report examines how many of the uninsured in each state would be eligible for health coverage assistance programs - i.e. Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and subsidized private coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces - under the Affordable Care Act. The report also estimates the anticipated decrease in the uninsured population under the ACA in each state. Finally, the report examines the share of those remaining uninsured under the ACA in each state who would be eligible for, but not enrolled in, assistance programs.

Posted to Web: October 10, 2013Publication Date: October 10, 2013

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