2016 Changes in Health Care Insurance

If you're familiar with the Affordable Care Act (aka ACA or Obamacare) at all, then you may know just how difficult it was to come to fruition. There was untold amounts of opposition, and then when it finally did roll out, it frustrated and upset a lot of people with a clogged website that failed to keep up with the growing demand, complicated rules and extremely resistant doctors.

Here's what you need to keep in mind for the new year in health insurance for this controversial bill and beyond:

The ACA is still in effect right now, but Republicans recently pushed a bill through Congress to the president for approval. Obviously, the bill wasn't approved by Obama, but Republicans did all of this to prove a point. Their goal was to show that they had the ability to get this petition up through the Senate and to the president. Should the president change this year to a Republican candidate, then the outcome would likely be very different. While it will undoubtedly make a lot of people angry to have the ACA repealed, as an employer, you must accept it as a potential reality.

Other potential changes for this year include the introduction of more virtual visits to the doctor. Health insurance works to provide options, convenience and overall cost savings to their program participants. While that may save a little money, the rising costs of health care could cause your premiums to go up.

There may also be more restrictions on higher priced drugs. There are ways for name brand drug companies to skirt around patients ordering generics, which are almost always just as effective. This pushes everyone's costs up, so there are more steps that doctors will need to go through to justify ordering the expensive drugs. Lipitor, for example, does have a generic version, but there is a small portion of the population that will only respond to Lipitor. If your workers happen to be in a similar situation, then that's something for them to be aware of.

Depending on your costs this year, you may have wondered if you should use higher deductible plans. This may increase your budget for this year to be put toward additional measures in the business; however, you'll need to be careful. If you're planning to do this, you may want to consider discussing this with your employees, as they might feel blind-sided by the change. This is expected to be a major trend for this year, but there will undoubtedly be unseen costs with this type of change.

Regardless of what you choose, knowing what other companies are doing (both your direct competitors and the insurance companies) can help you understand everything in the context of your own business.
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