The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will end up impacting many facets of the health insurance industry, but individual health insurance policies will feel some of the biggest changes according to Debra A. Donahue’s article on MarkFarrah.com. Through the ACA, the law requires that states establish Health Benefit Exchanges. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2019, about 24 million people will purchase their health insurance through these Exchanges.
This is a big difference from the format of health insurance today. Only about 11 million Americans purchased individual coverage in 2011, which was up 4% from 2010. Local Blue Cross Blue Shield companies typically dominate the individual major medical health insurance markets in most states throughout the nation. Many other national insurers are starting to grow rapidly in this market including Aetna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare. Many of these health insurance companies are working quickly to change their policies to meet the requirements of the new health law and be ready for competition as it gets more fierce.
The individual health insurance market should continue to grow since the Supreme Court has deemed the ACA Constitutional, and the future of employered-sponsored health plans will remain uncertain. More and more employers are reducing benefits already, and unemployment rates continue to be high. Some employers are even dropping health insurance benefits altogether in an attempt to save money and prepare for what they think is the future of health insurance. Individual health insurance is already emerging as an improved product with many more options than ever and this should continue to grow as the ACA is implemented.
Written by Sam Tabes
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Tags: affordable care act, employer sponsored health insurance, health care reform, health insurance companies, individual health insurance