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5 Takeaways From AHIP's 2013 Annual Conference

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, June 19, 2013

Payers are working hard to position themselves for success with health insurance exchanges. Competition for customers is fierce. Everyone wants a piece of the healthcare delivery business. And big data may help secure it.

Like a palooka that makes it to the heavyweight finals against improbable odds, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act narrowly became law, and ever since has fought off persistent attempts to bring it down.

Its biggest victory was almost a year ago in the Supreme Court (where it won by decision). Now it faces another bruiser: implementing health insurance exchanges next year.

So Las Vegas, a city where longshots are embraced, was a fitting backdrop for the annual conference of America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) last week. The focus of the gathering of health plan executives was the implementation of the PPACA and how it will affect the health insurance industry.

I am happy to report that since the Supreme Court's decision stakeholders and vendors have cast aside their doubts and worries (at least outwardly) and have been working to position themselves to thrive as healthcare reform is implemented.

AHIP 2013 featured several days of workshops, networking breakfasts, and appearances by the healthcare industry's equivalent of rock stars. Among them were George Halvorson, the outgoing CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Toby Cosgrove, MD, the CEO of Cleveland Clinic, and Susan Dentzer, the former editor of Health Affairs and now senior policy advisor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Some 30 sessions provided insight into the transformation of healthcare delivery, the new healthcare consumer, and the importance of big data.

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