January 2017

Hearings Give SIIA Members a Voice in the Future of Health Care in America   
As the debate about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues, Congress is looking to SIIA and others in the health insurance industry and other associations for input on replacing ACA. On February 8, a committee of members of Congress from the House Education & Workforce Committee, Health Subcommittee and House Ways and Means Subcommittee listened to the ideas and information presented by SIIA and employer health care associations regarding Association Health Plans (AHPs). AHPs are expected to have a large role in any replacement plan for the ACA.

Self-Insurance was another topic covered in the session which also invited the National Retail Federation, National Federation of Independent Business, the National Auto Dealer Association, and the National Association of Home Builders, to this important discussion. Self-Insurance and AHPs will be heavily discussed in the upcoming months and SIIA is happy to be included in these policy considerations which are sure to have a long-lasting effect on our industry and our nation as a whole.

For more information about this topic, we encourage SIIA members to attend the SIIA Legislative & Regulatory Conference in Washington, D.C., May 3-4. This is a time in which SIIA members will be able to reach out and speak with members of Congress and policy makers and help shape the future of health care.

ACA - Repeal and Replace?  
What do the changes to the Affordable Care Act mean to your health plans? 

On Inauguration Day, the Trump administration took steps to fulfill its promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. What does this mean for your health plans? Right now, very little is known about specifics of a replacement plan for the ACA.

According to an article on healthaffairs.org, plans offered to employees and their families through employment cover 150 million people in the United States, making the impact of the changes to the ACA law, even for those with employer insurance, compelling.

The Self-Insurance Institute of America (SIIA) has lobbied, successfully, to push implementation of the 40% excise tax for employers and employees, off until 2020. This tax aims to tax an employers' deduction and cap employee exclusions, effectively taxing health insurance. However, a full repeal of the "Cadillac tax" won't be known until later in the replacement process.

Some current features of the ACA Republicans are considering keeping include no waiting periods or denials for pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parent's insurance policies until age 26 which are the pieces of the law most popular with Americans. Regardless if covered under an employer or through state insurance, it's clear the ACA and upcoming changes will affect every American.

Read more about changes to the ACA
US News and World Report
CBS News   
New York Times

Federal Judge Says "No" to Merger

On January 23 a federal judge blocked a merger of Aetna and Humana saying it would hurt consumers, but if the ACA repeal and replacement happens soon, it might help private insurers by allowing them a larger share of the privatized market through Medicare Advantage.

Republican leaders believe expanding Medicare Advantage will offer consumers more choices and greater competition. (Source: NPR) 

2017 Trends in Healthcare Information Technology

According to an article at healthcareitnews.com, a survey of health care executives has cybersecurity, analytics and population health as the most pressing issues for 2017.
  • Cybersecurity - Always a concern, companies should be concerned about keeping data and confidential employee information safe. New technologies and processes will be developed to handle these issues.
  • Analytics - As doctors and insurance companies compile data on patients, what to do with that information is becoming more important. Studying this data can help determine patterns in wellness, illness and patient care which can lead to better serving consumers.
  • Population Health - Analytics feed into this trend for 2017 by providing the foundation for how people are receiving care and what happens during the care process. Population health helps define the areas in which need improvement creating a beneficial solution for large groups of people.

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