The health insurance exchanges created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are now largely in place, and millions of Americans are shopping on those exchanges. This is having a major impact on many of the companies that provide their employees with health coverage, and the effects seem to be varying widely.
So far this year, about 80 publicly traded companies have stated that the new aspects of the ACA could either help or hurt their bottom lines in this first quarter of the new year, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. In general, it seems as though the way in which companies will be impacted appears to revolve around the industries in which they operate. For instance, companies that operate in the media and advertising, or staffing and outsourcing realms seem to be doing better under the new law.
The reason for this is that insurance agencies, expecting huge boosts in revenues and significant competition for new the customers that will provide these upticks, are pouring large amounts of money into advertising - up between 12 and 15 percent, according to some estimates - and hiring more professionals to handle the potential influx of business, the report said. Interestingly, much of the advertising that could increase is actually for those in smaller markets, as many population centers may already have significant knowledge of the law's various rules and how they will impact consumers. But smaller markets, which may have been ignored in the run-up to implementation of the coverage mandate, will likely see the lion's share of such advertising pushes in the near future.
What about those taking a hit?
On the other hand, it seems that a number of major companies with large workforces are concerned about the impact that providing expanded coverage will have on their bottom lines, the report said. For instance, UPS, Pantry Inc., J&J Snack Foods, and even Wal-Mart Stores have all warned against potential financial shortfalls because of the added costs, with some of these reaching into the millions per year.
Health insurers will certainly have to keep a closer eye on the ways in which industries try to adapt to these changes, as their bottom lines may end up being significantly impacted by the reactions of companies operating in a number of sectors. These could serve as a potential boon to business for many coverage providers.