Insurance Industry Looks To Make Lemonade From Health Reform
Restaurant workers - who account for 4 to 6 million of the nation's uninsured - will have new options for health coverage even before the law kicks in with new subsidies and "exchanges" in 2014, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. "Their trade group, the National Restaurant Association, was able to line up a smorgasbord of individual and small-group plans from UnitedHealth, some priced 15 to 20 percent cheaper than the open market. The potential prize for UnitedHealth: access to 13 million restaurant workers, between 4 million and 6 million of whom currently have no insurance." This is just one of several efforts by insurers to adjust to the overhauled health system and tap new markets of currently uninsured people (Yee, 8/14).
One change to insurers' rules could affect health insurance brokers, Crain's Detroit Business reports. "Some health insurers that serve Southeast Michigan, including Priority Health, Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, already have informed agents of commission cuts, partially because of changes stemming from the recently approved health care reform bill." The reason: the requirement that insurers spend at least 80 percent of premium revenues on health services might mean commissions would be cut (Greene, 8/15).
The world may change for insurance companies even more than anticipated, Modern Healthcare writes. "Bank and auto executives have found out that one of the consequences of more federal support is more federal scrutiny of their pay. Are healthcare CEOs in line for the same lesson?" In the wake of forays like the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, It didn't take long for the federal government to decide that, if it was going to pay the piper for bailouts, it was going to call the tune on executive compensation for the recipients." Executives like UnitedHealth Group's Stephen Hemsley, who was paid $106 million last year, may find their salaries in the crosshairs (Galloro, 8/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.