The Affordable Care Act and the Future of Health Insurance

Cardinal’s Bird’s Eye View

In November we looked at What Employers Need to Know – Choosing a Health Plan, the price of health insurance, compared small and individual market plans and costs—and made some predictions. It was not a stretch to predict that health insurance carriers who were not making a profit would continue to raise rates. Predicting what the Trump Administration and Congress will do now is more problematic.

It is widely assumed that any major changes to Obamacare that would affect millions of Americans will take at least a couple of years to implement. It took several years for the current system to go into effect. Even with all that planning, the federal government still had to coax health insurers into the individual health insurance exchanges by setting up risk corridors (essentially reinsurance policies in case insurers lost too much money).


future-insuranceAfter the Senate changed the rules in 2015, carriers only got about 12.5 cents on the dollar of what they were initially promised from the risk corridors. If Obamacare is repealed and replaced, implementing an alternative would be a difficult undertaking. Carriers would have to actuarially start from scratch again to develop realistic pricing models just like what took place under Obamacare. And who knows if and when that would take place, since there is no reservoir of goodwill between the federal government and private carriers.

  • It is possible that health care could be left to the states to do as they please. Oregon has operated health insurance pools in the past. It is conceivable that a version of an individual and small business health insurance exchange could be created at the state level. In past Oregon legislative sessions, single payer plans have been proposed. With the same party controlling the Oregon House and Senate as well as the governor’s office, Oregon might launch its own experimental healthcare program However, with the loss of Governor Kitzhaber leading the charge and the fiasco with CoverOregon, the state government might move more cautiously.
  • Another possibility, in keeping with recent additional requirements on employers, the Oregon state legislatures might do what Hawaii did 40 years ago and require all employers with 10 or more employees to provide health coverage.


Whatever is discussed, planned or implemented on the healthcare horizon, you can be assured that Cardinal Services will be in the forefront of providing you with the latest news, advice and services to help your business stay compliant. We’re committed to providing your business the workplace solutions that support your company’s continued success