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Healthcare CEO's Find Opportunity In ObamaCare

posted 7 May 2013, 14:02 by Mpelembe   [ updated 7 May 2013, 14:03 ]

Reuters Business Report - In just five months, new insurance marketplaces- the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges- will open their doors to enroll millions of Americans who have not been able to buy healthcare coverage on their own.

The impact on the healthcare industry will be huge and companies are starting to gear up to take advantage.

Cigna plans to sell health insurance on five public exchanges.

Cigna CEO David Cordani:


"One thing the Affordable Care Act has done, is its raised everyone's awareness around the need to drive change in the healthcare system. That's good, because change and innovation is necessary to bring better value to clients or employers, customers or individuals and how we work with physicians. That's probably the biggest benefit that I see today as we try to innovate and drive change."

While he sees it as an opportunity, Cordani isn't sure of its bottom line impact-yet.


"The emergence of a new individual market though public exchanges, that market is new for us in the United States. It's not new outside the U.S. We serve over 11 million individual customers outside the U.S. and we'll be able to bring some of those skills here as we've already been able to demonstrate with our pilot. So it's a future potential opportunity for attractive growth."

Officials estimate that about 7 million people will get private insurance through the exchanges next year- with many qualifying for federal subsidies to help pay premiums.

That will benefit hospitals that treat uninsured patients- because in theory they will have insurance- and bills will be paid:

Tenet Healthcare CEO Trevor Fetter:


"There will be more people having more access to health insurance. People who want to buy these commercial products. Second one is the features of the product on the first dollar side, the deductibles will be limited. So the patient responsibility will have defined limits around it and then on the higher-end side there are currently caps, sometimes annual caps or lifetime caps on the benefits under individual insurance products, and those will be eliminated so the ability to collect from both the patients and the insurers for the services we provide will be enhanced."

But Fetter admits there is a big downside:


"If employers currently provide insurance for their employees through group plans and they decide not to do that and incur the penalty instead, the employees could migrate onto these exchanges and either choose not to buy coverage at all, or they might buy coverage at a level that had less of a benefit for us. That is one of the unknowns."

While enrollment begins October 1, the exchanges go into effect in 2014. 49 million Americans are currently uninsured.