WSJ: Most companies await more clarity on Obamacare, expert says

USI’s Executive Vice President Michael Turpin lends his health care reform expertise to Goldman Sachs analysts and the Wall Street Journal.

“Employers are waiting to make bigger decisions until they get a better line of sight on how public exchanges will end up and whether or not coverage protocols will change.”

Read the full article below:

WSJ: Most companies await more clarity on Obamacare, expert says

September 24, 2013

USI New York Executive Vice President Michael Turpin

USI New York Executive Vice President Michael Turpin

By Russ Britt

While some big employers are making momentous changes in their health-care programs with the advent of Obamacare, the lion’s share of companies are waiting to see how it all shakes out before they decide the future of their employees’ medical coverage.

That’s the verdict from Mike Turpin, executive vice president of USI Holdings, an employer benefit consultant who spoke last week with Goldman Sachs analysts about how President Obama’s health-care overhaul is playing out for the average company. Regardless of what firms are doing like Walgreen Inc. — which is taking the unusual step of switching to a company-subsidized private exchange — most are waiting on the sidelines.

Companies have that luxury because a new provision in the law allows them to wait a year before finalizing what their health coverage plans will look like heading into the future.

“Employers are waiting to make bigger decisions until they get a better line of sight on how public exchanges will end up and whether or not coverage protocols will change,” Turpin said, according to a transcript of the call with Goldman Sachs. “There are a lot of loose threads that are unresolved that may give analysts and other stakeholders a line of sight into longer-range profit and growth impacts arising out of employer purchasing trends.”

That delay, however, is keeping premiums higher because many top insurers don’t have to adjust their pricing to new realities, he added.

“It’s frustrating as a consultant to not see more employers more willing to disrupt the status quo to drive market-based reforms. But it’s really a function of the clients focus and attention and their very distracted right now. It’s all a function of pain points, and right now employers feel pain around healthcare but are uncertain whether they want to go through the hassle of managing these costs as a business risk or get out from underneath these obligations,” Turpin said.

Follow Russ Britt on Twitter @russbrittmktw

Follow Health Exchange on Twitter @MWHealthBlog

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