Summary: “Much of the recent attention on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has focused on the fate of the 22.5 million people likely to lose insurance through a repeal of Medicaid expansion and the loss of protections and subsidies in the individual insurance market,” JoAnn Volk writes over at Health Affairs (Related graphic: Andy Slavitt posts on his Twitter stream about the effects of repeal; click image to enlarge.) “Overlooked in the declarations of who stands to lose under plans to “repeal and replace” the ACA are those enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans — the primary source of coverage for people under 65. Job-based plans offered to employees and their families cover 150 million people in the United States. If the ACA is repealed, they stand to lose critical consumer protections that many have come to expect of their employer plan. It’s easy to understand the focus on the individuals who gained access to coverage thanks to the health reform law. ACA drafters targeted most of the law’s insurance reforms at the individual and small-group markets, where consumers and employers had the greatest difficulty finding affordable, adequate coverage prior to health reform. The ACA’s market reforms made coverage available to those individuals with pre-existing conditions who couldn’t obtain coverage in the pre-ACA world, and more affordable for those low- and moderate-income families who couldn’t afford coverage on their own. Less noticed, but no less important, the ACA also brought critical new protections to people in large employer plans. Although most large employer plans were relatively comprehensive and affordable before the ACA, some plans offered only skimpy coverage or had other barriers to accessing care, leaving individuals—particularly those with costly, chronic health conditions—with big bills and uncovered medical care. For that reason, the ACA extended several meaningful protections to employees of large businesses.” JoAnn Volk, “Get Health Insurance Through Your Employer? ACA Repeal Will Affect You, Too,” Health Affairs.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded... More by Jeanne Pinder