Author Topic: ACA: Jury Still Out. More Americans Covered, Little to Reduce Costs  (Read 3331 times)

The Costa Report

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ACA: JURY STILL OUT. MORE AMERICANS COVERED, LITTLE TO REDUCE COSTS

by American sociobiologist, Rebecca D. Costa

Dan Fishbein could not have picked a more chaotic time to sign on as President of Sun Life Financial U.S. Since taking over the position in the Spring of 2014, he's been stewarding Sun Life through one of the most radical transformations to hit the insurance industry – the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Fishbein recently stopped by The Costa Report to explain how the insurance industry has responded to ACA, and what we should look for down the road.

Fishbein, who in addition to being a doctor, has over two and a half decades of insurance industry experience under his belt (with giants like Aetna, New York Life, MassMutual), was a smart pick for one of America's largest insurance companies. Where insurance is concerned, he's seen it all: from radical changes in treatments and technology, to the recent advent of private and public health exchanges and voluntary benefits.

Though Fishbein acknowledges ACA has been successful from an enrollment standpoint, he remains cautious as to whether the program's long term goals will be realized. "We've made progress getting more people covered... [but] we're still facing a very serious cost challenge," he warns. Much of the "ongoing rise in healthcare costs" is a product of "new technology, new drugs, [and] new techniques for addressing disease. [These] are all wonderful things, but they're all more expensive," he said. Fishbein concedes that in the end higher costs are reflected in higher premiums – so cost reduction must be a paramount priority.

But according to Fishbein, expensive new procedures and technologies are not the only trend to watch. He points to an alarming increase in the dollar amount of insurance claims. "Over the past three years, we've seen a tenfold increase in the number of claims over $1 million" That tenfold jump has caught the attention of all insurance carriers.

In the final analysis, Fishbein believes the Affordable Care Act has succeeded in its goal of getting more Americans healthcare coverage, but it has not yet addressed the issue of skyrocketing healthcare costs. With "20 to 30 percent of the employer based population in some kind of high deductible plan" to save money on their premiums, we may be kicking the can down the road as Americans discover they selected plans which were insufficient.

Where ACA is concerned, the jury is still out.

To hear the interview with Dan Fishbein in full, visit www.thecostareport.com



 

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