New Report Says ACA Will Be Top Healthcare Issue for 2013

pwc Annual Healthcare Report Puts ACA TopsPwC’s Annual Report Puts ACA at the Top

PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) provides researh and analysis on trends impacting various health industries. The Institute publishes an annual consumer poll identifying top healthcare issues for the coming year. According to this year’s report the transition to meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) directly or indirectly affects seven out of the top 10 issues identified.

“Health organizations can hear the thundering footsteps of 30 million newly insured Americans on the horizon. Yet they are feeling the full force and impact of federal spending cuts and pressure from states, employers and consumers to operate more like a consumer-focused, retail industry,” said Kelly Barnes, PwC’s U.S. Health Industries Leader. “By this time next year, the major provisions of the health reform law (ACA) will be in effect, and the health industry has a lot of work to do before then. It’s now a foot race to 2014. The evolution of healthcare that has been in effect over the past several years will become a full-scale transformation in 2013.”

The list is derived from input by healthcare professionals who work with hospitals, physician groups, pharmaceutical and medical device companies and employers. For this year’s report a poll of 1,000 consumers was also included. The report , HRI also conducted a poll of 1,000 U.S. consumers on a range of healthcare topics covered in the report. You can download the full report here.

Here are the top ten issues of focus for the healthcare industry for 2013 as identified by the PwC report:

1. States on the front lines of ACA implementation – The biggest challenge states may face in 2013 will be information technology.

2. Consumer revolution in their healthcare coverage – the consumer poll found signs that consumers are warming up to new ways of purchasing insurance.

3. Medtech industry braces for excise tax impact – A 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device companies tookeffect on January 1, 2013, representing potentially $29.1 billion to the federal government over the next 10 years.

4. Caring for dual eligibles – Dual eligibles (people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid) represent 16 million Americans and ACA will add this to Medicaid rolls by 2019.

5. Bring your own mobile device: convenience at a cost – 70% of consumers surveyed said they are concerned about the privacy of their medical information if providers are able to access it on their mobile devices.

6. Goodbye cost reduction, hello transformation – Reimbursement resetting under ACA, calls for federal budget cuts and price-conscious consumers has hospitals scrambling to further reduce costs.

7. Customer ratings hit the pocketbooks of healthcare companies – Paying for performance will take on new meaning in 2013 as consumer reviews generate penalties and bonuses for hospitals and insurers.

8. Meeting the new expectations of pharma value – Physicians now have less say in payment decisions than insurers and large providers.

9. Bigger than benefits: employers rethink their role in healthcare – With the Supreme Court ruling to uphold ACA and Obama’s re-election, employers may re-examine their role in providing healthcare coverage and explore alternative approaches.

10. The building blocks of population health management – Medicare’s ACO and patient-centered medical home initiatives laid a foundation for improving population health with additional collaborations creating growth in population health management.