Last Night's Election Results: What Do They Mean for the Insurance Industry?

By Dwane McFerrin, Vice President, Medicare Solutions

  • Originally published November 5, 2014 , last updated November 6, 2014

Many of you stayed up late last night to view the election results, and no doubt, voters swept Republicans into power of the Senate and strengthened the hand of Republicans in the House and governorships. So what does it mean to those of us in the insurance industry? Will we see a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)? How will the senior market be affected?

Over the short term, I expect to see a moderation of regulation by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as evidenced by CMS rescinding three regulations affecting the senior market thus far in 2015.

  1. CMS rescinded its own regulations that would have reduced agent compensation for Part D and MAPD
  2. CMS took back its regulations that prohibited agents from calling MAPD and PDP clients about 2015 plans
  3. CMS removed prohibition of discussing value-added benefits as part of an MAPD or PDP sales presentation

Proposition 45 was a California ballot issue with national implications. It would have given the Insurance Commissioner approval authority over rate increases on individual and group medical plans. The National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) was very active in opposing this issue, and the voters in California soundly rejected it, leaving in place the Insurance Commissioner having review authority but not granting absolute power in rejecting rating action decisions by insurance carriers.

Will we see a repeal of Obamacare in 2015? Highly doubtful, but expect to see fixes that both sides of the aisle have refused to take up since the Affordable Care Act was initially passed into law. I would anticipate that the repeal of Obamacare is more likely to be a presidential election issue in 2016 and the results of that election will determine if the law is repealed.

Dwane serves on the NAHU National Legislative Council and is chair of NAHU’s Medicare Advisory Committee.