Networks Financial Institute 2013 ACA Forum


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2: Opening Remarks

"The Big Bang for the Affordable Care Act: The End of Health Care Financing as We Know It?", presented by Networks Financial Institute at Indiana State University on October 18, convened employers, politicians, academia and policy makers for discussion on how the historic legislation is impacting health care insurers, service providers, employers and American health care consumers.

Brien SmithIndiana State University College of Business Dean Brien Smith welcomed participants and noted the role Networks Financial Institute (NFI) has played over the past decade in advancing research and dialogue concerning the U.S. insurance sector and its regulatory environment. "More than $32 million in funding has helped NFI engage thought leaders to examine and conduct regional and national insurance industry research over the past 10 years," Smith said.

Jack TatomPreviewing the day’s agenda, Dr. John Tatom, research scholar at Indiana State University, referred to the "big bang" noted in the forum’s title. "The individual mandate requiring insurance is the biggest bang of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the ACA, with the employer mandate postponed for a year, but there are many others as well," Tatom noted. Citing a few examples of "lesser bangs" he referenced the end of exemptions for many medical programs that will affect low-wage employees, forcing recipients of tax credits for small businesses to join new small business exchanges, and the implementation of insurance exchanges to serve the individual marketplace. Looking further down the road, the implementation of higher penalties for violating the mandate, the 2018 implementation of a tax on so-called "Cadillac Plans" will also have repercussions in the marketplace.

"There are more changes coming that will impact the industry in the future, but now is the big bang," Tatom noted. Given the scope and breadth of the Act as well as the timeline for rolling it out over years, Tatom observed that the insurance sector and the public will need to keep an eye on the primary goals of the ACA: ensuring access to health care insurance and ensuring affordability. "The Act will be evaluated in terms of whether it was successful at meeting these two goals," Tatom said.

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