The Journey Continues
It seems like everyone was holding their breath waiting for the election results. With the results in and President Obama re-elected, the Administration will certainly continue to focus its efforts on the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – an outcome for which Cigna has been long prepared. What remains unclear at this point is exactly how or when modifications to the legislation may or may not be made as the Administration enters its second term and shifts from the campaign mode to working with Congress on the issues facing the country.
As we head into 2013, our emphasis will be to continue to work with regulators and legislators at the federal and state levels to move forward on a collaborative basis in the best interest of our country – and our country’s health and well-being. While the goals of reform are that all Americans have continuous access to affordable, quality health care, the law tends to focus on enhancing access to coverage but falls short of ensuring access to affordable, quality care.
We believe successful reform calls for partnership between the public and private sectors. We believe it’s crucial that the law is supplemented with innovative incentives and solutions that encourage people to improve their health, manage chronic disease, embrace better health habits and maintain continuous health care coverage. As an industry, we need to educate and engage individuals on how to make the best possible choices for themselves and their families.
In our view, the goals of increased accessibility, improved quality, and reduced costs are more achievable when consumers have choice, transparency and multiple entry points to the commercial markets – whether through employer or individual markets.
We also believe that a reformed health care system must have sufficient flexibility to allow marketplace participants, such as insurers, health care professionals, hospitals and other service providers to innovate, compete and distinguish themselves based on relevant criteria such as cost, quality, accessibility, and product and service innovation.
The Road Ahead
We are less than 11 months away from open enrollment for the Health Exchanges and just over a year away from some of the law’s biggest and most impactful provisions taking effect. These changes will forever modify the landscape of how individuals and small employers purchase health care coverage. Whether you are a broker, an employer, a health care professional or an individual, it is not too soon to begin to plan and execute your strategy for this new marketplace.
Of course, the road ahead will still be challenging and could include many twists and turns. There’s a lot to do in a short amount of time, and we are still awaiting final regulations on key provisions such as the Exchanges, mandates and essential health benefits, just to name a few.
Cigna is committed to continued compliance and to supporting our client, customer and partner needs. We will, indeed, continue on this journey together. We will also remain a strong supporter of market-based solutions to health care reform and will remain actively engaged with lawmakers, health care professionals and other stakeholders to advocate on behalf of those we serve for a health care delivery system in which every American has continuous access to affordable, quality coverage.