By Mary Scanlon, senior vice president, Business Development, Government Healthcare Solutions, Xerox

 

The Affordable Care Act – President Obama’s landmark piece of legislation – passed its most recent trial on Tuesday evening as Obama was re-elected for another term.

In particular, the 2012 Presidential election was the last “wait and see” event for states that have been holding out on developing a plan for a Health Insurance Exchange (HIX) – a requirement of the ACA. States are required to submit their plans for a HIX to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by Nov. 16, leaving just a week-and-a-half between election and deadline for those who opted to wait.

States are required to have their HIXs up and running by January 1, 2014 – less than 14 months from now. With that in mind, we anticipate many states will default to the Federal model when they send in their plans next Friday, but they likely will work to maintain a level of control so they have an option to transition to a state-based exchange in the near future. Xerox’s flexible HIX solution, implemented in several states already, is a great bet for states planning to transition at a later date. It’s proven and established, and can enable a faster, low-risk cut-over to a state-based exchange when the time comes.

Xerox is committed to helping states develop an exchange with which consumers will engage. We believe healthcare consumers will expect the same online experience they already have when shopping for and comparing other services, like airline tickets. Given these demands, it will be important for states to design simple platforms and make it easy for consumers to select, enroll in, and purchase health insurance. That means investments in portal technologies and personalization tools are important – and success will be measured by competencies like Web usability, a positive visitor experience, the right look and feel, and technological underpinnings.

Medicaid expansion will also come into focus. As states think through how to handle the waves of new beneficiaries and claims that will begin in 2014, Xerox has the flexibility to work with states to design, develop and implement solutions best tailored to individual state needs, while managing the various requirements of healthcare reform. There is no single “best” approach to respond to the complex issue of healthcare delivery in Medicaid. Instead, Xerox works with states to design their programs and procedures to meet their citizens’ specific needs.

President Obama’s re-election will be noted as a critical marker on the course of healthcare transformation in the U.S. Times of change are not behind us, but with the election results in hand, we have a clearer view of the road ahead for healthcare. There’s no time for states to lose. For the journey ahead, they need a partner with proven solutions, solid experience, agility and flexibility.

Xerox has more than 40 years of experience working with government health agencies. We touch all areas of the healthcare ecosystem – government health, payer, provider and employer – with a common goal of supporting the delivery of quality healthcare. HIX offerings include a SaaS model for states and a partnership with HealthPlan Services to help health insurance carriers prepare to participate in exchanges. Buck Consultants, a Xerox Company, is providing guidance to employers on how the election outcome will impact employer-sponsored retirement and health plans, and human resources.

To learn more about healthcare’s evolution following President Obama’s re-election, listen to our latest podcast on the Xerox Real Business Radio station.

Mary Scanlon is senior vice president of Business Development for Xerox Government Health Solutions, the national leader in state health care program administration. With extensive experience in health insurance and managed care, Medicaid and health IT, Mary has helped design a health insurance exchange solution to support state delivery of Affordable Care Act requirements.