The Nuts and Bolts of Health Insurance for the Aspiring Health Reformer

October 3, 2008

We expect that the coming debate on health reform will involve proposals to reshape the role private insurance plays in our health care system. But to evaluate proposals for change, one must first understand how private insurance works currently.

This October 3 briefing was designed for those wanting a refresher in how private health insurance works in America. How do states regulate insurance? How do insurers decide whom to insure and how much to charge? How does insurance differ for individuals, small employers and large employers? What are some of the gaps in the current coverage system? How do those with serious illnesses fare in the insurance system as it currently operates?

Speakers were: Steve Finan, associate director of policy for the American Cancer Society; KarenPollitz, project director with the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute; Sandy Praeger, insurance commissioner for the State of Kansas; and Pat Ryan, senior actuary for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the “Blues” plan for Iowa and South Dakota. Ed Howard, executive vice president of the Alliance, and Deanna Okrent, Alliance health policy associated, moderated.

Sponsors were the Alliance, The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.


Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Speaker Presentations

Pollitz Presentation (PowerPoint)
Ryan Presentation (PowerPoint)
Praeger Presentation (PowerPoint)
Finan Presentation (PowerPoint)

Event Resources