While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was originally created to help Americans deal with their health insurance options and find coverage that worked for them, the results were not as intended. Many people who previously held plans that no longer meet the ACA's minimum requirements will now attempt to go without insurance, even if it results in federal fines, instead of adjusting their plans as the legislation intended.
The impact of the new minimum requirements has the potential to be widespread. According to a CNNMoney report, up to eleven million Americans previously bought their own insurance, either because their employer did not provide insurance or because they were self-employed. Anecdotal evidence suggests that a significant portion of these eleven million Americans will consider going without insurance as a result of the ACA.
What's the issue?
The reasons many Americans may choose to go without insurance are two-fold. For one, the health insurance process is complicated for small business owners and self-employed consumers. The CNNMoney report states that part of the reason for this complication is a change in the subsidies individuals can qualify for as a result of fluctuating income. In addition, costs of insurance have the potential to increase under ACA. Without the ACA minimum requirements, many individuals bought only health insurance for catastrophic coverage. Many of these types of plans have been canceled since they are not as comprehensive as required by new legislation. Without the less costly catastrophic coverage plans, buyers were forced to purchase more expensive plans, leading to buyer frustration.
Even though many Americans are disenchanted by the health insurance process, private insurance companies can use the ACA as a tool to increase business by reaching out to the millions who will no longer have insurance this year. The Americans choosing to go without insurance could be motivated to reenroll in insurance to avoid the growing fines the ACA has put in place. If insurance companies can overcome some of the complications of the process and work on keeping the costs to a more palatable level, business has the potential to increase.