Tag Archives: health insurance exchanges

FIXING THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: PART 1 – WHAT WE KNOW, WHAT WE NEED

There are two things the newly ascendant House Republicans need to know about fixing the new health reform law. First, their mantra of “repeal and replace” (besides being moot) ignores the fact that, buried in the manure pile of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a real pony in the form of individual insurance exchanges that need to be dug out, hosed off, and nurtured by a combination of empowered consumers and enlightened, lightened regulatory oversight. Second, the GOP’s oft-voiced preference for incremental health reform—tort reform, interstate insurance purchases, and tax credits—won’t do anything to fix the fundamental problems in health insurance and medical care.

So I’d like to offer a guide to both parties on what we know and what they must do to fix not just the ACA, but the entire problem of unaffordable, mediocre quality medical care.

What We Know
There are four basic problems to fix.

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OPEN LETTER TO CEOs: PART 2 – YOU MUST DRIVE HEALTH CARE STRATEGY

HOW TO DO IT

Dear CEO:

In Part 1, I wrote about why you must take the lead to drive a new health benefits strategy for your company. Now, I’d like to talk about both the short- and long-term components of that strategy.

Short-Term: Turn your employees into savvy medical purchasers.

1. Implement universal High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs). Your current rite of annual, bit-by-bit increases in deductibles and copayments is like cutting off a dog’s tail an inch at a time. Stop doing that. Move all your employees now to HDHPs and health savings accounts (HSAs). Ideally, implement the maximum medical-cost-sharing allowed by the new health reform law (i.e., same as current HSA maximums of $5,950 for individuals, $11,900 for families), and get rid of all fixed-dollar copayments in favor of deductibles and coinsurance to communicate actual medical prices.

2.    Maintain employee premium contributions. Despite the much lower premiums for the new HDHPs, don’t reduce employee premium contributions. Keep them at current levels.

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