Beyond ACA: Evaluating Impacts on the Retailization of Healthcare

While components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are expected to come under significant scrutiny from the Trump Administration and Congress, the ongoing “retailization” of healthcare will accelerate regardless of the dustups over Obamacare.

President Trump signed an executive order on his first day in office that gives federal agencies the power to waive or delay any aspect of the law that will “impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden” on individuals and the healthcare industry. And in a signal of how we can expect the Trump Administration to reshape the health insurance marketplace, the order also encourages the “development of a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of healthcare services and health insurance, with the goal of achieving and preserving maximum options for patients and consumers.”

However, that last phrase “preserving maximum options for patients,” in addition to clear industry trends, indicates that the wide scale “retailization” of healthcare that ACA brought to the marketplace is not going anywhere.

Thanks to technology and instant information access, consumers will keep on turning to the internet in greater numbers to research healthcare plans, prices, and options. And they will demand choice, similar to à la carte policies auto insurers provide online. Whether it’s to research an illness or shop for a healthcare provider, these trends are not expected to diminish, especially as tech savvy Millennials take over the marketplace. Enter B2C and exit B2B (at least for segments of the market).

A key aspect of retailization is buyer choice and market pricing. But as consumers seek their own costs and treatment choices — for example, higher deductible plans and incentives for using lower priced alternative healthcare providers and products — the requirement for paying for performance is only expected to become more prevalent.


For additional information, check out our ACA white paper: Potential for Change and Subsequent Impacts of the ACA.