As President Obama signs landmark healthcare legislation today, a question for us to consider is how the property/casualty insurance sector may be affected by changes in the nation’s healthcare system. Here’s what the bill means for three key areas that have an impact on p/c insurers and that we’ve highlighted in previous posts:

  1. Antitrust exemption: The healthcare legislation does not include a repeal of the industry’s limited exemption from federal antitrust rules that has been in place for 64 years under the McCarran Ferguson Act. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) has applauded the decision: “We appreciate that Congress recognized repealing McCarran-Ferguson would not provide any benefits to the consumer or the insurance marketplace.” Check out I.I.I. info on antitrust law and insurance.
  2. Tort reform: Despite President Obama’s earlier pledge to address medical malpractice liability concerns as part of healthcare reform, the bill does not contain any meaningful tort reform. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis last October estimated enacting medical liability reforms would reduce federal government budget deficits by roughly $54 billion over the next 10 years. Check out I.I.I. info on medical malpractice.
  3. Workers compensation: Changes in the medical landscape tend to have an impact on workers compensation insurers. Over at Managed Care Matters blog, Joe Paduda observes that while changes to the American healthcare system are more comprehensive than anything we’ve seen in decades, not all of this will be for the better. He discusses some of the likely implications for workers comp here and here. Check out I.I.I. info on workers compensation.