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PwC Names Top Health Issues of 2013

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, January 10, 2013

State health insurance exchanges lead off a top ten list of healthcare industry issues for 2013 issued Wednesday by PwC's Health Research Institute. The group's annual list of what to watch in healthcare this year also includes two issues that were the list in 2012: population health and pharma.

In a statement, Kelly Barnes, PwC's health industries leader says the millions of American who will be covered under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will affect healthcare organizations already faced with a trifecta of full implementation of the PPACA, new consumer behaviors, and economic pressures to cut costs.

"By this time next year, the major provisions of the health reform law will be in effect, and the health industry has a lot of work to do before then," says Barnes. "It's now a foot race to 2014. The evolution of healthcare that has been in effect over the past several years will become a full-scale transformation in 2013."

State health insurance exchanges must be ready for open enrollment in October. Ceci Connolly, managing director of HRI, says there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes with payers who are looking to participate in the exchanges.

So far Aetna has said it will participate in at least 15 exchanges, including Connecticut, where four additional insurers have also agreed to also take part. As the federal government approves states' plans for exchanges, it's likely that more payers will announce plans to participate.

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