Today, the Nashville Health Care Council hosted a timely panel discussion on trends and issues unfolding across the nation as health insurance exchanges are implemented. The panel, which included nationally respected experts from the payer, provider, vendor and government perspectives, discussed this key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with specific emphasis on its implications for Nashville’s far-reaching health care industry.
The discussion was moderated by Heather H. Howard, lecturer, Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation State Health Reform Assistance Network. Panel members included Daniel T. Durham, executive vice president, policy and regulatory affairs, America’s Health Insurance Plans; Chip Kahn, president and CEO, Federation of American Hospitals; Paul Lambdin, director, Deloitte Consulting; and Julie Mix McPeak, commissioner, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
State and federal health insurance exchanges opened for enrollment on October 1, 2013. Most people must sign up and pay for coverage by mid-February 2014 in order for it to be activated by the deadline of March 31. Those not enrolled by March 31 will face a tax penalty. Officials expect seven million enrollees by March 31.
“With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, there will be monumental changes to Tennessee’s health insurance landscape,” said McPeak. “With the federal government’s management of Tennessee’s exchange, our focus is on supporting Tennesseans and helping them map these uncharted waters.”
“Health plans have been focused on implementing all of these changes in the most affordable way possible,” said Durham. “Our members are educating consumers about the changes to health insurance and helping them to enroll in coverage that best meets their needs.”
“Hospitals are ground zero for implementing the ACA,” said Kahn. “In addition to caring for patients, hospitals are now serving as community resources and educators, which is a critical role for the marketplace to be successful.”
“Functionality of the exchanges will improve, offering significant opportunities for the states and the federal government to engage potential exchange customers within their geographic regions,” said Lambdin, who leads Deloitte’s health plan sector health insurance exchange solution area.
“Much of the success in expanding the number of Americans with health insurance depends on the ability to efficiently implement the coverage priorities of the ACA. I am hopeful that this need will lead to innovation within the system,” said Howard.
Council member companies represent diverse sectors of the health care industry, including ambulatory and outpatient surgery, long-term care, academic research, hospital management, health information technology and life sciences. Seventy percent of investor-owned hospital beds in the U.S. are operated by Nashville companies. Fifteen publicly traded health care companies are located in Nashville.
“Nashville is home to more than 250 health care companies, many of which provide care throughout the country, so it is valuable for our members to hear these perspectives on a critical provision of the ACA,” said Caroline Young, president of the Nashville Health Care Council.
The presenting sponsor for today’s Council Policy Series program was BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. Supporting sponsors were Bass, Berry & Sims, Cressey & Company, LifePoint Hospitals and SpecialtyCare.
About the Nashville Health Care Council
The Nashville Health Care Council, founded in 1995 as an initiative of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, is an association of health care industry leaders working together to further establish Nashville’s position as the nation’s health care industry capital. Nashville’s health care industry generates more than $70 billion in revenue and more than 400,000 jobs worldwide and is Nashville’s largest and fastest growing employer. For more information on the Council, please visit www.healthcarecouncil.com.