Market responses to the Affordable Care Act

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As the US moves towards full implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare), employers are seeing new challenges and opportunities in the provision of health coverage and other benefits to their employees.

Some predict that ACA will lead to cheaper, better, universal healthcare. Others predict a calamity. But most agree that the law will drive significant change in the way healthcare is delivered, paid for and insured in the US. Employers are left wondering how to plan for and manage those changes while containing costs and meeting their employees’ expectations.

Human resource consultants and product vendors are responding by aggressively promoting their services as an answer to the complexity and administrative headaches created by the legislation. Outsourcing benefits administration functions to specialists is one approach. Several service providers have also launched private health insurance exchanges in the two years since the ACA legislation passed…

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