Uncovering The Affordable Care Act’s Impact on Progressive Marketers

Talk about pragmatic disruption of the status quo.  From the political landscape, to funding mechanisms to the creation of cottage industries the Affordable Care Act, or Obama Care, is creating debate, division and yes, opportunity.

Here are the 5 key things we need to know as progressive marketers.

  1. A refresher- In March 2010 President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  It requires all US citizens and legal immigrants to participate in a quality, approved health plan by January of 2014.  These plans will take the form of state funded exchanges (HIX), subsidies to existing social programs like Medicare and Medicaid or private insurer product extensions.  Participation is required for employers with 50 or more employees.
  2. Market Impact- There will be a dramatic increase in market size as a result, from 14mm purchases of health care in 2009 to a projected 72.7mm in 2020 (Deloitte).  This will create a virtual patient acquisition arms race as these new customers flood the market.
  3. Marketing and Communications Impact- As a result of a provision in the Act known as the Minimum Medical Loss Ration (MLR) insurers will be required to spend 80% of premium adjusted revenues on claims and quality improvement expenses.  Marketing will be considered and administrative cost and as such will go against the MLR.  While at first glance this might sound bad it actually opens opportunity.  Insurers will need to find more innovative, efficient and analytically driven marketing models that will drive performance-based solutions.  Gone will be the days of mass marketing in the industry.  Enter insight, data driven and measurable programs.
  4. The National Prevention Council- The creation of the NPC means that wellness and education programs are a key focus of the ACA.  Empowered patients will need information and support.  Currently these efforts are funded to the tune of 9 billion dollars over the next 5 years.
  5. Quality Care and Outcomes Management- These terms will become part of the new taxonomy.  Better outcomes will equal better cost and because of this outcomes will be defined as not only clinical but financial and experiential as well.  Conscientious, innovative marketers will have the opportunity to own these dimensions in partnership with their clients by providing targeted, analytics based products and services.

The ACA is creating exactly the type of disruption in the marketplace that will call for innovative solutions.  Firms that can adapt and apply their expertise to this disruption will find tremendous opportunity.