|[December 16, 2013]
Fitch: ACA Expansion Will Have Varied Impact on U.S. Hospitals
NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--
Increases in enrollment in healthcare plans through federal and state
exchanges are likely to have a mixed impact on not-for-profit hospitals,
Fitch Ratings says. Reimbursement rates on exchange plans are generally
lower than those from employer-based commercial plans. Additionally,
most of the plans to be purchased through the exchanges are likely to be
silver or bronze plans that carry higher deductible and co-pays. The
benefit of increased coverage may not translate into increased volumes
and could be muted by rising bad debt expense. The total number of
enrollees through the exchanges remains uncertain.
Health and Human Services reported that nearly 365,000 individuals had
selected plans from the state and federal marketplaces by the end of
November and 250,000 of them chose plans in that month alone.
Approximately 1.9 million have gone through the process but not selected
a plan. Another 803,077 were determined to be eligible for Medicaid or
the Children's Health Insurance Program in October and November.
The key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are slated to take
effect in 2014. The Congressional Budget Office projected seven million
individuals getting insurance coverage through the newly created health
insurance exchanges in 2014 and another nine million people getting
coverage through expanded Medicaid eligiility.
Despite these projections, uncertainty remains around issues with the
federal website and the poor publicity associated with the rollout of
Healthcare.gov. Public skepticism of the ACA may put downward pressure
Additional information is available on www.fitchratings.com.
The above article originally appeared as a post on the Fitch Wire credit
market commentary page. The original article, which may include
hyperlinks to companies and current ratings, can be accessed at www.fitchratings.com.
All opinions expressed are those of Fitch Ratings.
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