The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been around five years, and it’s brought staggering changes to the world of health care and insurance. PPACA “has expanded medical insurance faster than any new policy since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965,” John Tozzi writes for benefitspro.com.
The legislation has meant changes for many of the players involved: employees and individuals, employers, and those who work in the insurance industry. Here’s what the law has meant so far for each of these groups.
The legislation has succeeded in driving down the rates of uninsured Americans. The uninsured rated dropped 5 percent from last year, as the individual mandate went into effect. Today, the uninsured rate among U.S. adults is 12.3 percent, Kathryn Mayer writes for benefitspro.com.
Though, it hasn’t necessarily made health care more affordable for everyone, most notably, the young, Salim Furth writes for The Wall Street Journal. “The average health insurance premium rose by 5 percent this year, much higher than the rate of inflation,” Furth writes. “But that increase is modest compared to the massive increase in non-group health insurance rates in 2014, which was around 50 percent on average, with some consumers facing much worse rate jumps.”
Employers have had to address many facets of PPACA, including reporting requirements and the employer mandate, which requires them to offer insurance or pay a fee. “Though a number of the law’s components have been delayed over the years, the one with the most backlash was PPACA’s employer mandate – which became a lightning rod for criticism of the law,” Mayer writes for a different story on benefitspro.com.
In addition, Lowes writes, 900,000 Americans’ individual or employer-sponsored plans “were cancelled for 2015 because they did not comply with the ACA.” This illustrates another need for employers – to make sure the plans they offer are compliant, as well.
Just as both employers and employees have had to work to comply with the law, brokers, too, have had to adjust their offerings and vastly expand their knowledge to keep up. They’ve proven they’re able to do both, providing invaluable help to clients with tax compliance and even navigating public exchanges. For example, in Connecticut’s state-based public exchange, certified exchange brokers accounted for 32 percent of the exchange’s qualified health plan enrollees.
“The average certified broker helped 57 people enroll in QHP coverage,” Allison Bell writes for lifehealthpro.com. “Consumers who bought QHP coverage with help from brokers were more likely to qualify for PPACA premium subsidy money than other QHP buyers were,” Bell writes. “Only 15 percent of the brokers’ QHP clients paid for their coverage without help from the PPACA premium subsidy program.”