Dealing with lots of change in health care? You ain't seen nothing yet
For all the technical snarls plaguing the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the law is finally beginning to transform the American health system.
So, do employers, providers and insurers just sit back and await the blessings?
Hardly, said experts at the Puget Sound Business Journal’s three-hour discussion on Wednesday, titled “Navigating the Affordable Care Act.”
“You have to remain flexible, because things are constantly changing,” Stoel Rives attorney Howard Bye-Torre said. “Don’t set anything in stone.”
The audience of more than 300 business people at the Westin Seattle heard about numerous significant adjustments they may have to wrestle with in coming months and years, including:
— The so-called “Cadillac tax” on expensive health plans that’s due to take effect in 2018.
— The hundreds of thousands of newly insured patients who may overwhelm primary care clinics — as happened when Massachusetts expanded coverage years ago.
— A changing businesses model for insurers from, as Regence executive vice president Chris Gorey put it, “acting as a wholesaler to more providing a consumer product.”
— Shrinking reimbursements for some providers as health plans gradually shift from the fee-for-service model to one based more on patient outcomes. Or, as KPMG partner Jacque Cabe, noted: “Every health care ‘cost’ is revenue for somebody.”