The ACA and employer health clinics

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was officially signed into law in 2010. As of July 2017, the ACA is in flux and under threat of being repealed and replaced by a new healthcare bill. While the focus of discussion has primarily been on individuals and how their healthcare coverage will be affected under any new law that may be passed, the ACA still has a significant effect on employer health clinics.

Lower out-of-pocket costs are one of the main concerns individuals have about their healthcare coverage. Most Americans have health insurance coverage through their employers, and costs are rising for both the individuals and the employers. Employer-sponsored health clinics, both on-site and near-site, have been found to reduce those costs for both parties.

Costs have risen as a result of the ACA, primarily due to the mixed pool of insured that must be covered by health insurance companies. As Ellen Blaine, MPH, explains in a recent HealthStat article, “onsite clinics can solve the riddle of how to control costs for both employers and employees. And they improve access to care at the same time.”

Blaine further explains that some changes may be seen in the coming years as employers continue to try to provide affordable, healthcare options to their employees. She anticipates that virtual visits may increase, both as a matter of convenience and cost. Electronic communication between the physician and patient can certainly improve the overall healthcare quality and perhaps even reduce the number of office visits. Such virtual “treatment” would have to remain HIPAA-compliant, of course, but may become a growing trend.

Employers continue to see the value in providing quality healthcare options for their employees, in keeping costs low, and convenience high. As Blaine concludes in her article, “onsite clinics are poised to be the centers of employee well-being. It’s the best way to point employees in the right direction and coordinate programs, which in turn improves access and saves money.”