Changes coming to healthcare in 2013

With the Supreme Court set to rule on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) this month, every person in the healthcare business (or in any business, and indeed most people in general) has eyes turned on the ruling. These top headlines discuss potential outcomes. Regardless of the outcome, however, many believe healthcare will be dramatically changed. Read on to find out how and why.

Examining 3 likely Supreme Court outcomes

“we will likely have as many questions as answers” after the ruling. After all, what really happens after the ruling comes out will also be dependent on the outcome of the November elections.

Since the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of PPACA March 26-28, there’s been constant speculation on which way the ruling would go.

And though there are more possible outcomes than three—and more complicated ones—the following are a fair bet on what will happen—or at least what people think will happen.

More from BenefitsPro >>

Dramatic changes coming to health benefits

Almost two-thirds of employers are not very satisfied with their current insurance arrangement, and 90 percent said they would accept major changes in their coverage to save money. “Because employers will be influenced by employee preferences (almost 60 percent will take employee input into account when making benefit decisions), it is imperative to clearly understand their needs and priorities. By doing this, health plans will be able to demonstrate that they are expert in engaging employees, serving their needs and, ultimately helping them achieve better healthcare outcomes.”

  • Employers are hungry for new solutions. When offered a private exchange alternative, 20 percent selected it even if no savings were involved, and an additional 60 percent said they would switch to save 10 percent on healthcare costs. When offered a value-based network alternative, 20 percent would switch even without savings and more than half would switch for 10 percent savings. Only 10 percent of employers said they would not consider either alternative. “Employers are very interested in alternatives to traditional insurance,” says Kairey. “And their demand will only increase given their desire to continue to provide coverage to their employees. Private-sector insurance could still be a major part of the U.S. healthcare system—if health plans can quickly start demonstrating real improvements in value.”
  • Employees are willing to change. In a related study, we surveyed more than 700 individuals who currently receive their health coverage through employers. Almost two-thirds were less than satisfied with their current insurance arrangement and 90 percent said they were prepared to accept major changes if it saved them money.

More from BenefitsPro >>

Steep Rise in Health Costs Projected

Spending would jump 7.4% in 2014 when the health-care law is scheduled to be fully implemented, the analysts predict, as millions of Americans gain coverage through subsidized insurance plans purchased through government-run exchanges or through Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people.

The fate of the law is uncertain. The Supreme Court could strike down part or all of it this month, and Republicans—including likely presidential candidate Mitt Romney— have pledged to repeal it. Democrats have said they believe the law will be upheld and that they expect to continue to carry it out.

More from The Wall Street Journal >>

Health Law Adds 6.6 Million Young Adults to Parents’ Plans

About 6.6 million young adults under age 26 joined their parents’ insurance plans in 2011 because of the U.S. health-care law, the largest one-year increase in medical coverage for the age group, a survey found.

The part of the law that lets young people stay on parental plans until age 26 helped boost coverage during tough economic times, said Sara Collins, vice president for affordable health insurance at the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based nonprofit that conducted the survey and supports expanded health coverage.

The benefit for adult children is one of the most popular parts of the 2010 health-care law as young adults face a U.S. labor market that is making it more difficult to find work and garner health coverage. Unemployment among 16- to 24-year-olds was 16.1 percent in May, almost double the 8.2 percent rate for the nation as a whole, according to government data.

“The economy is absolutely a factor in both the large number of adults who are without health insurance and likely the number coming onto their parents’ policies,” Collins said in a telephone interview. The health law “came at a really good time for young adults, in terms of the poor job market.”

Young adult coverage was one of the first provisions of the law enacted. About 71 percent of Americans polled by the Kaiser Family Foundation in April said they viewed that provision favorably. The health law in its entirety is less popular, with an approval rate of 37 percent, and an unfavorable view by 44 percent of those surveyed in May, according to a monthly tracking poll by Kaiser.

More from Bloomberg News via Financial Adviser Magazine >>

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About thebenefitblog

Eric is a Producer at Lockton Insurance Brokers, Inc., the world’s largest privately held commercial broker. Eric has over 23 years of experience in the insurance industry and has spent the last 11 years with Lockton. Eric specializes in Health & Welfare Benefits, Retirement Planning, and Executive Benefits. Eric's clients utilize his expertise in the areas of Plan Due Diligence, Transaction Structure, Fiduciary Oversight, Investment Design, Compliance and Vendor negotiation to improve the operational & financial outcome for each client. The Benefit Blog is a place to share that expertise and industry news.
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