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Senate Releases Draft Health Care Bill

Healthcare Reform

On Thursday, the Senate released a “Discussion Draft” of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).  Click here to view the draft.  At this point, the bill is still open for amendments and awaiting a CBO score at the beginning of next week. This means that the contents of the existing draft bill will most likely change prior to an expected vote before the Senate leaves for the July 4th recess next week.  

As currently written, there are many similarities with the AHCA, which was passed last month by the House, but there are some differences as well. Click here to read our review of the house bill.

The major differences from the AHCA in this draft bill are:

•  No version of an individual mandate (the AHCA would allow insurers to apply a 30% surcharge to premium if an insured had a certain gap in coverage). 

•  The pullback of funding for Medicaid expansion is drawn out a little longer, but it appears that the long-term funding for Medicaid will be lower than the AHCA proposed.

•  The tax credits would be different, capping out at 350% of the poverty level and being tied to a 58% actuarial value plan (the ACA credits were tied to a 70% plan and the AHCA were only age based).  The BCRA does seem to correct the coverage glitch for non-Medicaid expansion states that will allow those at the low end of the poverty level not currently eligible for either Medicaid or a subsidy in the exchange to receive some assistance.

What are the business impacts of the proposed BCRA legislation?

As with the AHCA, there are really no adverse impacts to employer-sponsored plans.  The employer mandate would go away, removing the requirements to offer coverage to all employees averaging more than 30 hours a week. There are enhancements to HSAs which would be favorable to those employers who offer HDHP plans and their employees are eligible for HSAs.  The ACA premium subsidies would stay in place in 2018 and 2019, so many of the existing reporting requirements would most likely stay in place, at least in some capacity.  Moving forward, subsidies would continue to be contingent on not having an offer of employer-sponsored coverage, so some reporting requirements will most likely remain long term.

Once the bill is finalized and we are confident about the content, we will provide additional updates in the form of blog posts and a webinar.

Written by Greg Stancil

Greg Stancil serves as a Senior Account Executive at Scott Benefit Services with over 18 years of experience in the healthcare industry, working with PPO networks, carriers and as a consultant. He also serves as Director of Healthcare Reform, as which he oversees Scott’s client healthcare reform plan actuarial validation and affordability custom modeling, healthcare client checklist, due diligence process and client HCR monthly webinar series. Additionally, Greg conducts healthcare reform workshops across the country. Greg attended Luther Rice University and has his Registered Health Underwriter (RHU), Chartered Healthcare Consultant (ChHC) and Certificate of Studies in Healthcare Reform designations from the American College.

The Healthcare Landscape – Part Three North Carolina and the Future of Healthcare

This is the third installment in our three-part video series sharing highlights from the Business North Carolina 2017 Healthcare Round Table event that Scott Benefit Services hosted in April.  In this video, Sean Willoughby-Ray, Benefits Practice Lead/Vice President, discusses the strength of the healthcare landscape in North Carolina.  

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American Health Care Act passes the House, faces uphill battle in Senate

Healthcare Reform

After months of hand wringing and arm twisting, the GOP goal of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed its first legislative test today in the House of Representatives.  The American Health Care Act (AHCA) was narrowly approved by the House today in a vote of 217-213.  The bill received no democratic support.
 
This vote comes 41 days after the bill was pulled from the floor on March 24 when the GOP realized they didn’t have enough votes for the bill to pass.  Since then there have been two amendments to the AHCA that flipped enough votes to result in passage today.  

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The Healthcare Landscape – Part Two Paradigm Shift: Understanding the Competitive Advantage of Health

The video below is the second installment in our series sharing highlights from the Business North Carolina 2017 Healthcare Round Table event that we hosted in our Greensboro office last month.  The full discussion is featured in the May issue of Business North Carolina Magazine.

In this video, Sean Willoughby-Ray, Benefits Practice Lead/Vice President, discusses how health is a competitive advantage –  for individuals and businesses.  

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The Healthcare Landscape – Part One The Pharmacy Problem: Dealing With the Dramatic Increase in Pharmacy Costs

Last month, Scott Benefit Services hosted the Business North Carolina 2017 Health Care Round Table in Greensboro.  Sean Willoughby-Ray, Benefits Practice Lead/Vice President, along three other healthcare industry professionals representing Premier Inc., The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, shared insights into the future of healthcare in North Carolina and the impact on the state’s economy.

The video below is the first in a three-part series that we will share in the coming weeks highlighting the discussions from the roundtable event.  In this video, Sean Willoughby-Ray and Mitch Perry, Senior VP and CFO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, discuss some of the issues surrounding the dramatic increase in pharmacy costs, especially specialty medications.   

With pharmacy costs expected to account for up to 50% of an employer’s healthcare spend within the next five years, employers must focus on their pharmacy benefit challenges today.  Contact Scott to discover how we can help you take control of your organization’s health risks and better manage your medical and pharmacy spend.