Is Obamacare repeal over?

Posted by Emily Kubis on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 @ 07:02


Repeal train slows, but what’s next?

Is the GOP giving up on Obamacare? Healthcare stakeholders and political news entities are suggesting as much. Forbes reports “insurer profits rise as Trump waves white flag on Obamacare,” noting the President mentioned Obamacare only once during his State of the Union address.

Politico reported there were no discussions of repeal and replace at a recent House and Senate joint retreat, and BenefitsPro said Republican leaders in the House and the Senate see a lot of risk and little reward in trying repeal again.

While hardly anything is certain when it comes to U.S. healthcare policy, if the GOP does move on to new priorities in 2018, where does that leave brokers and employers?

Here are three things employers should consider.

Costs will keep rising

Without intervention, the years-long trend of skyrocketing healthcare processes will continue. A recent study found the 4.6 percent increase in 2016 was driven almost entirely by rising prices, as utilization remain flat or decreased.

In other words, the status quo will provide little relief to employers and their employees.

New strategies will emerge

One consequence of skyrocketing prices is that employers of all sizes will be willing to implement new and innovative strategies.

Traditionally, self-insurance has been challenging and risky for small employers to adopt. But as fully-insured plans become prohibitively expensive for smaller employers, having more control and transparency in healthcare costs will become increasingly attractive. Futher, new options in the market make it easier for small employers to self-insure with lower risk.

Policy questions remain

Even without full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, there are unpopular policies that Republicans may pursue repealing. Congress handed big employers a win with yet another delay of the Cadillac tax on high-dollar health plans, extending implementation from 2020 to 2022.

By moving beyond totally repealing the ACA, the GOP may have better luck in addressing items like the Cadillac tax, the employer mandate, and others.

Bernard Health develops sustainable health plan strategies for employers of all sizes. Learn how our employer advisors help organizations reduce their healthcare spend by downloading our e-book, "The Bernard Health Approach." Click here to download.

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Topics: employee benefit adviser, employer digest, health insurance small employers, employers, obamacare, aca, Affordable Care Act, repeal and replace

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