Dear Valued Clients:
President-Elect Trump has made it very clear that he intends to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) when he takes office in ten weeks. While this won’t happen immediately, and will require the participation of other branches of government and some type of transition period, I think it’s safe to say that the health insurance industry will continue to be unstable, and we can expect some dramatic changes in 2017.
There is a lot of speculation about the future of health care, health insurance, and the employer-sponsored model. While it’s fascinating to see my industry at the center of attention, it’s also difficult for me to sift through the conjecture to get a clear picture of what will happen. There are a lot of unknowns, and a lot of moving parts. Here are a few things I think are possible:
- In the individual health insurance market, the individual mandate could be repealed, federal subsidies could be discontinued, the federal and state exchanges could be phased out, Medicare could be expanded as we move closer to single-payer system, and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) could be made more widely available
- In the group health insurance market, the employer mandate could be repealed, the Cadillac Tax (set to go into effect in 2020) could be cancelled, and the tax exclusion for health insurance premiums could be removed
- In the insurance carrier world, carriers may continue to pursue mergers to reduce overhead and strengthen market share, they may be relieved of complying with the Medical Loss Ratio (which effectively reduced broker commissions), and they may pull out of unprofitable markets, reducing competition and choice for employers and individuals
While some of these potential changes will present new challenges, some of them will create improvements to what is currently a very imperfect system.
Health insurance is an essential financial tool that allows people to predict and manage their health care costs. The need for health insurance is stronger than ever. As an employee benefits consultant and as your broker, I am committed to helping you and your employees navigate these changes so you have the best and most cost-effective health insurance options, even as those options change from year to year. I am also committed to staying up-to-date on legislative changes and industry strategies through my involvement in the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU).
I will continue to keep you updated on changes that affect your employee benefits strategy. Please feel free to reach out to me if you want to discuss this further. And know that I am more committed than ever to my agency, my industry, and to you.