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March 5th, 2012
Opt-out provisions of Affordable Care Act are not expected to impact health insurance industry significantly.

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, some insurance agents may be concerned that its implementation will impact their health insurance leads generation, as some companies may be able to opt out of the mandate. But based on a new report, the ramifications to the industry won't be too significant, so long as opt-out rules aren't further relaxed.

According to an analysis conducted by nonprofit research organization RAND of two specific rules that permit small businesses to forgo the health insurance requirement, the stipulations aren't likely to have a significant impact on the health insurance industry as a whole as few businesses will be given the option.

Christine Elbner, the study's lead author and senor economist at RAND, said this may change, however, if the rules are moderated further.

"We found that keeping the rules as they are written, particularly the limitations on maintaining a grandfathered plan, will be essential to keeping premiums affordable in small business insurance exchanges," said Elbner.

As RAND points out, starting in 2014, small businesses that offer employer-based coverage for their workers will be able to increase or decrease premiums based on enrollees' age, family size, where they live and whether they smoke. Other factors – such as gender, health pre-conditions and history of claims made – will not be able to be taken into account.

By implementing these strategies, the hope is that it will enable a greater pool of employers and employees to share the cost that comes with insuring more people so companies take on as limited a financial risk as possible. However, some companies have questioned whether the benefits that come with cost sharing will be compromised if companies are granted the ability to opt-out.

RAND researchers affirm that costs – and in so doing health leads – will be minimally impacted, so long as regulations aren't relaxed any further.

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