The future of healthcare will be very interesting if, in my opinion, the following changes I describe are applied to the industry. Health insurance has been an ever evolving industry since inception during the early part of the 1900s’. If the changes I describe come to fruition you will remember my article. If the changes do not come to fruition hopefully I will not be at fault or admonished.
Two key laws that have been implemented in the last two months lead me to believe the additional changes I propose will occur. The first change that has been implemented is called the Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSE HRA). This is a new hybrid Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) that allows a small employer up to 50 employees or less to offer an HRA deposit rather than provide health insurance. Small employers are not obligated to offer health insurance but if they do they can cancel the health insurance offered now and move to the HRA deposit method. The HRA deposit does not have a minimum and has a yearly maximum of $4950.00. If the small employer is currently paying 50% of the minimum contribution then they can save money if they enroll into QSE HRA.
Example showing both laws combined: Current group policy costs $600/month. $300 paid by employer and employee. QSE HRA option will allow the employer to cancel the group health and offer the employee a $100 or $200 HRA contribution saving the employer thousands per year. The employee HRA funds can be used to pay for a health insurance plan through the Exchange or just use the funds to pay for health costs incurred from a medical office or facility.
Using HRA funds for health insurance premiums was never allowed in prior years. President Obama actually passed this law and I believe that President Trump will further expand it. I stated that they can use the funds for premium or to pay for medical services. You may ask, “How can this be?” Well, President Trump passed the 2nd law to discontinue penalties assessed for not having health insurance. You may view the order here https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/2/executive-order-minimizing-economic-burden-patient-protection-and
This order combined with the QSE HRA allows an individual not to have health insurance and can accumulate funds in their HRA without penalty based on the prior stated guidelines.
The future may follow the current regulations and the President may let large groups follow the same precedent as small groups. If that is the case then the employees of large groups can forego health insurance and take an HRA deposit. Most employees between the ages 18 to 35 do not want health insurance nor want to pay for it. They can potentially get an HRA deposit from the employer and do what they will with that money regarding medical expenses. This will save the large employer thousands while increasing the medical HRA account for the employee. A win-win for both.
Another drastic change may include the ability to sell health insurance across state lines. If this occurs then the consumers, as well as the groups, will have the ability to purchase insurance from the least expensive state. This will certainly place many of the small non-profit health insurers out of business or at a minimum leave them as only Medicaid suppliers. The insurance broker will follow the same destiny as the small non-profit health insurer since commissions will be drastically reduced due to a change from group to individual participation.
If you believe this cannot occur I welcome you to Medicare Medical Savings Account plans (MSA). You can find more information at www.medicare.gov This plan was implemented about three years ago and allows the government to deposit money into the MSA on a calendar year basis if you are on Medicare. If you do not use the funds for medical services you can keep accumulating the funds until necessary to use them. The MSA is equivalent to the QSE HRA except the employer is the government when you turn 65. If you are healthy you can keep accumulating funds until necessary.
Will the health insurance landscape change? Yes it will. What is not known is the degree of change. I am not being political. If Hillary Clinton was elected we would have a single payor system like Medicare. President Trump was elected so he will attempt to have a more efficient health insurance system that may or may not be more efficient than the single payor system. We will soon see the outcomes and if the article proves to be true you will remember it. If it does not prove to be true you will understand what the future holds and how easy a swipe of pen by either political party can change the landscape almost instantly. New article will be posted on Tuesday. A very interesting take on Hollywood. Check back or follow. Thank you.