Three Health Care Forums Held

Recently, the governor’s Interagency Task Force on Health Care Reform conducted three separate forums: one each for employers, health providers and health insurers. Each industry was given the opportunity to provide comments about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the insurance exchange (the mandated entity at the state level that will market health care products and determine eligibility). While the administration was looking specifically for information to assist it in its decision-making process regarding the exchange, the forums also allowed each industry to vent about its frustrations with PPACA.

The Indiana Chamber commented on the impact on health insurance premiums due to no lifetime limits and coverage of children up to age 26. Further concerns were made known about the ability (or lack thereof) to maintain grandfathered status on existing health plans, the possibility of employers “dumping” employees into the exchange and the significant cost concerns related to the new enrollees in the Medicaid program under PPACA. David Wulf, chairman of the Chamber’s Health Care Policy Committee, provided his perspective as vice president of administration at Templeton Coal Company, specifically sharing his concerns about PPACA.

Since then, the Chamber has had ongoing discussions about the exchange and has been asked by the Department of Insurance to look into the idea of a defined contribution plan within the exchange. Utah created the first defined contribution plan that allows employers to contribute a dollar amount to an employee that purchases insurance through the exchange. Eventually, the employee would be able to combine federal subsidies, employer contributions and spousal employer contributions to purchase an individual policy based upon a group rate through the exchange. Several states are looking into the idea and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is in support of the program.