US Health Coverage Rebounds—For Now

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , September 27, 2013

"The Affordable Care Act has changed the playing field like it has never been changed before. Even employers who are offering health benefits are thinking about moving in the direction of creating more of a shopping experience," he says. But he notes that "the federal employees program has been doing this for 50 years, so it's not like this is something new and out of the blue."

Technology is propelling a shift toward a consumer marketplace for insurance. "We are doing this on the Internet with everything else we shop for. You look at Amazon. You look at Travelocity," he says. "There are different websites for different things and people are getting used to shopping with resources and the information that they need to make informed decisions; bar coding things in stores and looking up a review on the Internet. I am not surprised that health insurance seems to be catching up to it."

"It seems daunting now but a couple of years from now it may not. Medicare went through this on a more micro level with the drug benefits in 2006. It was pretty disruptive at first but it settled down."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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