What We're Reading: SCOTUS Abortion Ruling; Use of HDHPs Grows; More Seniors Die at Home

June 27, 2018

A California law that requires clinics to notify women that abortions paid for by the state are available has been ruled a violation of free speech rights; half of all workers in the United States have health insurance with a deductible of at least $1000, which is up from 22% in 2009; a new study found that more seniors insured by Medicare are dying at home instead of a hospital.

Supreme Court Blocks Rule Requiring Notification of Abortion Availability

A California law that requires clinics, even those that are pro-life, to notify women that abortions paid for by the state are available has been ruled unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled that the law violated the free speech rights of those facilities that do not want to promote abortion, according to Reuters. The vote went along party lines with the 5 conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents voting down the law and the 4 liberal justices appointed by Democratic presidents dissenting.

High-Deductible Health Plans Continue to Grow in Use

Half of all workers in the United States have health insurance with a deductible of at least $1000, which is up from 22% in 2009. In that same time period, the proportion of large employers offering only high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) grew from 7% to 39%, reported Bloomberg. The trend of offering HDHPs took off during the financial crisis, when employers were trying to cut costs, and again with the Affordable Care Act. Some companies, such as JPMorgan Chase and CVS Health, have announced plans to cover more care costs or reduce deductibles for their employees.

More Seniors Are Dying at Home

A new study found that more seniors insured by Medicare are dying at home instead of a hospital. Los Angeles Times reported that 29% of seniors who were dying spent part of the final month of life in the intensive care unit, indicating a stabilization of a trend that had risen from 2000 to 2009. The research also found that in 2015, approximately 40% of patients passed away either in a home, hospice, assisted living facility, or other community setting compared with just 31% in 2000.