The main opportunity for larger employers that will come under the full brunt of the Affordable Care Act is realizing that companies are not out negotiating your renewals on their own anymore. There is a whole set of regulatory authorities that are going to assist companies in negotiating rates, and to some degree, they will keep employers protected from unnecessary or high rate increases from carriers that will be very closely examined by the state insurance commissioners as well as the Department of Health and Human Services. Large employers will have some big sticks behind them for the first time.
Other positive aspects of the Affordable Care Act relate to the emergence of a new provider contracting opportunity. Many of the large, multi-specialty medical groups throughout the state of California are going to be rolling out their own plans. Employers will offer plans that may not necessarily be from Aetna, Anthem, Blue Cross/Blue Shield or other known providers. Those players will still be major forces in the marketplace, but there will also be some new ones to consider, and it will be be interesting to watch.
One of the other things that an employer can look to in terms of the Affordable Care Act being a positive is that their employees will be treated fairly in terms of pre-existing conditions. Employers do not have to worry if some bad news comes to an employee such as one of their kids falling ill. That kid will not be somehow precluded from getting the care that he or she needs. Employers do not have to worry about some of things that have existed in the market for a long time with regard to pre-existing conditions. They can feel confident knowing that their people will be taken care of.