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Learning Center Experience
By Randy Kemnitz, MS, CFP©, Subject Matter ExpertPublished July 2014
the name is likely to generate a reaction if you mention it at a dinner party.
Health care reform, the working name for Obamacare, is actually several
legislative acts along with amendments to other existing laws and regulations. The
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), enacted in 2010, is
intended to improve access to health insurance, improve consumer protection,
and improve the quality of health insurance while lowering the cost of health
has demonstrated that better access to health insurance may improve health (Van
Der Wees, Zaslavsky, & Zyanian, 2013). An underlying assumption of health
care reform is that the potentially increased cost of insuring those who are
less healthy would be partially offset by mandating that all Americans have
health coverage. Research indicates this coverage mandate may reduce premiums
for everyone (Eibner & Price, 2012). Greater access to health insurance
improves health and if mandated for all, may reduce individual premiums.
important as that may be, the real question that should be asked is: how does
health care reform affect you and your premiums?
answer is: well, it depends.
feature of the health care reform laws is the mandatory annual review of
premiums by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Their first
review was published in February 2014. They reported that for those with
employer-sponsored health plans, the only group they are required to study,
11,000,000 participants will have premium increases while 6,000,000 will enjoy
premium decreases (CMS, 2014). Many other studies have reached similarly mixed
results for both employer plans and individual plans (2014).
is there a difference? Health care reform limits some factors insurers use to
price their products. These include limiting pricing decisions on age, group
size, and health status (AAA, 2013).
question of how your premiums may change depends in large part on your starting
point. If your coverage was less comprehensive than now required, your premiums
will most likely be higher because you now have broader coverage. If you are
younger and healthy you too may find that your premiums are increasing (AAA,
2013). However if you are unhealthy, you now have access to health care you may
not have had in the past and the cost may be lower.
story is similar for employers. In 2013 several large employers suggested that
their costs to provide healthcare would increase beginning in 2014, in one case
by a projected $100,000,000 (Roy, 2013). The bulk of these increases are the
costs of insuring more employee dependents due to the requirement to offer
dependent coverage through age 26 and an influx of employees now buying
coverage to fulfill the individual mandate. This is consistent with the goal of
health care reform increasing access to health care coverage.
is no doubt that health care reform will impact health insurance premiums. How
will it affect yours?
more information on health care reform go to Healthcare.gov and HHS.gov
American Academy of Actuaries
(2013). How will premiums change under the ACA? Issue Brief, American Academy of Actuaries, May 2013. Retrieved
Eibner, C., Price, C. (2012). The effect
of the Affordable Care Act on enrollment and premiums, with and without the
individual mandate. Rand Health Technical Report, Rand Institute.
Roy, A. (2013).Delta
Air Lines: Next Year, Our Health Care Costs Will Increase By 'Nearly $100
Million.' Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/08/22/delta-air-lines-next-year-our-health-care-costs-will-increase-by-nearly-100-million/
United States Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services (2014). Report to Congress on the impact on premiums for
individuals and families with employer-sponsored health insurance from the
guaranteed issue, guaranteed renewal, and fair health insurance premiums
provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Retrieved from http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Research/ActuarialStudies/Downloads/ACA-Employer-Premium-Impact.pdf
United States Department of Health
and Human Services, Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight
(CCIIO). Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/CCIIO/Programs-and-Initiatives/Health-Insurance-Market-Reforms/index.html
Van Der Wees, P., Zaslavsky, A.,
Zyanian, J. (2013). Improvements in Health Status after Massachusetts Health
Care Reform. The Milbank Quarterly 91(4),
Randy Kemnitz, MS, CFP©, is a subject matter expert at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely
those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
We encourage you to share this article if you learned
anything (#TIL) or found this useful information.
If you are interested in other related financial topics, we
invite you to take a look at Kaplan University’s Center for
Excellence in Financial Services and our Career Moves site,
each of which periodically publish new articles and other content on this
And if you are considering a business degree we invite you
to find out more about our School of Business and
explore Kaplan University’s undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
By Cynthia Waddell, PhD, CPA, CFE
By Geoffrey Vanderpal, Full-Time Faculty
By Richard Carter, PhD
By Stanley W. Self, CFE
By Jerry Taylor
By Rachel Byers, Full-Time Faculty, School of Business
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Access preparation and practice advise from Kaplan Financial Education experts Mary Orn and Julie Ramsey.
Maylee talks about her experiences with Kaplan Financial Education and preparing for her exams.
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