Defenders of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, can be forgiven for some post-election triumphalism. But their joy is likely to be short lived. Because the law put off implementation of most key provisions until after the 2012 election, voters cast their ballots on November 6 without knowing what Obamacare’s true effect will be on their tax bills, insurance costs, or access to care.
Delaying implementation until 2014 helped the president win re-election, but now the bill is coming due. The administration can’t forestall Obamacare’s massive regulatory impact any longer, and the result will keep Congress and the media occupied for months and years to come.
The administration has just begun to issue guidance (proposed rules) to the insurance industry on Obamacare’s most important (and expensive) insurance market “reforms.” Insurance plans must have clarity on these issues if they are to develop and price plans for the individual and small group markets both inside and outside of the exchanges.
Right now, insurance companies don’t have answers to some of the most critical questions. Dozens of other smaller, but still important rules are also outstanding from HHS that will affect what kinds of plans are available on the exchanges, and how much they will cost insurers and taxpayers.