Independence Blue Cross reassures customers after Supreme Court ruling on Health Care Reform Law
IBC will implement the law while working to fix provisions that would raise customer costs
In response to the Supreme Court of the United States' ruling today upholding the requirement that all Americans have health insurance, Independence Blue Cross President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty said that while the law takes a first step towards comprehensive reform by expanding coverage to millions of Americans, a lot more work needs to be done to improve patient care and lower costs for our customers.
"Our customers deserve and need secure and affordable health care coverage. On behalf of our 3.1 million members, we will continue to lead the way in transforming health care by partnering with doctors, nurses, hospitals, and others to help people stay well and better manage their care," said Hilferty. "We will also continue to implement all aspects of the law while working with policymakers to fix provisions in the Affordable Care Act that could increase costs for our customers."
Independence Blue Cross will continue to promote innovative approaches to prevention and wellness, support groundbreaking strategies for managing chronic disease, and reward physicians and hospitals in the Philadelphia region for quality care. This model, called patient-centered medical homes, rewards primary care doctors for higher quality and better coordination of care.
While noting that the law will expand coverage to millions of Americans, Hilferty said that the Affordable Care Act — as it stands — doesn't adequately address the quality and cost of care.
"The law does not make great progress in improving patient care or lowering health care costs for our customers. What's more, major provisions will raise costs for our customers and disrupt coverage unless they are addressed," said Hilferty.
- The penalty for failing to carry insurance in 2014 will be as low as $95 per year. Younger, healthy adults may choose to pay the penalty rather than obtaining insurance, which can be very costly.
- Also beginning in 2014, restrictions in the law on how premiums are set will limit premiums for older adults, the largest users of health care, to no more than three times that of any other health care customer. Currently that range is about five to one or six to one. As a result, health care experts say that individuals under 30 would see their premiums spike, and many may choose not to buy coverage.
- The health reform law imposes a new tax on individual and small business insurance beginning in 2014. Assessments will total nearly $60 billion by 2018 and continue to grow. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this new tax will add $350 to $400 annually to family premiums in 2016. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said that this tax will be passed along to consumers in the form of higher health insurance premiums.
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