Is Assurant Health the First of Many ACA Casualities?

Once finalized and implemented, the Health Care Reform laws have affected companies and individuals differently throughout the entire health care industry. New policies and standards that were put in place aimed at evolving the health care system, while forcing other changes to be made. As companies work to comply with the new laws, many are seeing the affects on their business model as a whole.

Assurant Health, a health insurance provider, recently announced its plan to sell or close the health insurance and employee benefits division of the company. In a statement released by Assurant, the company estimates that it will report a loss of $80 to $90 million for the first quarter of 2015. The huge financial loss is being attributed to multiple factors; one major one being the laws implemented by ACA.

So how has Obamacare directly affected businesses similar to Assurant? Here are a few aspects of the law that has caused companies to feel pressure financially while attempting to comply:

  • Providing coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions
  • Requiring plans to cover a package of essential benefits
  • Spending at least 80% of every premium dollar on health care

The new policies that have been implemented now require companies to make expensive changes in order to comply. Businesses look for different ways to internally cut costs, whether that is by decreasing staff or, like Assurant, deciding to close down a non-profitable division of the company.

Assurant Health’s decision to close their health insurance and employee benefits division is one of the first major casualities of Obamaacare. Do you think there is more to come in the future? Share with us your thoughts by commenting below.

Study: Employers Focusing on Cost Control and Employee Health

In general, the health care industry within the U.S. continues to evolve, forcing everyone from insurance companies to patients to adjust and prepare for these changes. Businesses, in particular, have to handle cost changes from insurance plans and new policies set in place by the government, in addition to managing what will be best for their employees.

Towers Watson, a global professional services company, published their findings in a survey that looked at current trends among businesses with over 1,000 employees. The study examined strategies and practices that employers are putting in place to manage the growing cost of health care.

Here are the primary focuses of the companies that participated in the study.

  1. Cost Management: The cost of health care continues to be on the rise and companies are looking for ways to still offer insurance to employees, while reducing the overall expense. More employers are looking into private insurance plans or self-insured options to lower the financial commitment in the future.
  2. Utilizing Innovative Ways to Deliver Care: Telemedicine and health care apps seem to be gaining in popularity. In an age where people expect instant care and information, incorporating more technology into medicine will allow employees to become more involved in their health care.
  3. Employee Engagement and Accountability: A healthy workforce usually equates to lower medical expenses and more productive employees. In order to motivate their staff, companies are considering utilizing financial incentives to encourage them to take more responsibility for their health.

The survey that was conducted focuses on larger employers. Do you think that small companies are considering a similar plan of action? Will things like financial incentives, mobile apps and offering telemedicine to employees be enough to increase health throughout the company and lower medical costs?

Share with us your thoughts on this topic below!