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Health care reform's continuing uncertainty


Sources tell Comp Time that the work comp industry is growing increasingly nervous because the 2010 health care reform law’s impact on states and claimant behavior remains a huge question mark.

Several of the law’s provisions must be implemented in 2014, yet there remain many significant unknowns, such as how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the law’s requirement that individuals purchase health insurance, said Rita Nowak, vp of commercial lines and workers comp for the Property Casualty Insurers Assn. of America.

Other unknowns include the reform law’s impact on Medicare and Medicaid programs, new technology that might be adopted by the medical industry, and how state regulators will manage potential changes.

Cost shifting or whether implementation of the law will drive people into or out of work comp medical systems remains unknown.

“As we are approaching more of the implementation issues it’s becoming a concern,” Ms. Nowak said. “The unknowns are there. Until we get some more certainty it’s creating some anxiety in the workers comp community.”

Peter Burton, NCCI Holdings Inc.’s senior division executive for state relations agrees.

“We have no new information either,” Mr. Burton said. “We are like many constituents waiting to see what happens.”