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Payers Await Details on Employer Mandate Delay

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, July 10, 2013

A surprise announcement from the White House puts a key provision of the healthcare reform law on hold, and leaves health plans tending to business while they wait for details.

The Obama administration set of some fireworks of its own last week, announcing unexpectedly on July 3 that there will be a one-year delay, until 2015, of a key provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires mid-sized and large employers to provide health insurance for their workers or pay a fine.

Health insurers are uncertain how the delay will affect them, and await detailed guidance on the how reporting requirements will now be implemented. More information is expected this week according to the Treasury Department.

In the meantime, health insurers are going about their business. Here’s a round-up of health plan news since the Independence Day holiday:

Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan Administrative Costs Increased in 2012

The PPACA makes streamlining administrative costs a high priority for health plans. Administrative expenses of BCBS plans were 8.9% of premiums in 2012 and grew by 5.1% per member, according to the 2013 Sherlock Expense Evaluation Report or SEER.

The increase was reduced to 3.8% after excluding the effects of a product mix change that favored Medicare Advantage products. Blue plans reported median total administrative expenses of $29.25 per member per month.

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