The Future of the Affordable Care Act
We’re right in the thick of the political season, and outlandish claims come with the territory. But some of these have direct ties to the work many of us do every day—especially when those claims are about the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It seems like politicians on both sides of the aisle have their own ideas of what they would like to do with the ACA, but how feasible are these ideas? Let’s look at a few and look at how the presidential candidates’ ideas might affect the industry.
On the Left
Both of the Democratic candidates are firmly in support of the ACA. Hillary Clinton wants to expand the existing law, while Bernie Sanders has aspirations to have the government foot the bill for all insurance—something more common in other countries. In the case of either candidate making it to the White House, it’s a pretty sure bet that the ACA wouldn’t be going anywhere, and in fact might see further expansions.
In these cases, there’s a chance we’ll continue to see newly insured patients coming through hospital doors. These patients will be in need of education, especially when it comes to understanding their own financial responsibilities. Many may have no idea what a co-pay or deductible are, or realize that insurance doesn’t pay 100% of the bill. Patience will be the key.
On The Right
Republicans and others on the right of the aisle have made it perfectly clear that they oppose the ACA completely. Both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have stated they would “dismantle” the ACA. Trump has a plan to replace it with another, similar type of healthcare plan that would still be affordable, universal, but “market-based” and deregulated, while Cruz hasn’t made any replacement plans clear.
Meanwhile, Congress has put a fair amount of effort into repealing the ACA, with the last attempt making it to President Obama, where he vetoed it. So, would a Republican president mean that the ACA is actually repealed? It’s possible, certainly. And this would have many effects on the healthcare industry, including a spike in uninsured patients, meaning that self-pay would likely go through the roof. Without more stability from insurance reimbursements, many hospitals will need assistance in their revenue cycle management, and will have to put even more focus on working with individual patients and educating them on their financial responsibilities.
Regardless of which way the wind blows with the ACA, hospitals have to be nimble and ready to react to whatever situation is blown their way. This means putting plans in place to help your A/R department as they go through the shifts.
As you’re preparing, HCM is happy to partner with your team to assist in all self-pay challenges. Contact us today to see how we can help.