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2018 predictions: Insurance mergers, healthcare consolidation and new pharmacy rules

Article courtesy of Employee Benefits News, written by Perry Braun.

Predicting what will take place in 2018 with health insurance reform is little like predicting the weather or guessing the correct numbers in the lottery. Often times, you’re more wrong than right.
But given what we have seen so far, there are three trends that will likely influence the health insurance marketplace and healthcare delivery in the coming year, and make a significant difference on employers.
Coming consolidation in the insurance marketplace. Under the current version of the proposal to reform the health insurance marketplace, the Trump administration is looking to make it easier for small employers to build larger pools — even across state lines — to create insurance premium stability. These proposals represent the threat of new, yet not defined, entrants into the consumer marketplace.
Gaining market share is key to maintaining or creating insurance premium stability. We will likely see the consolidation of carriers within the industry through acquisitions. The likely scenario is that one or two carriers will be absorbed by non-insurance businesses creating a larger integrated insurance and medical/pharmaceutical product company.
Pressure on the pharmacy benefits management industry. The pharmacy industry in the United States will look to protect their economic position, particularly... [read more]