Wellpoint is one of the biggest health insurance carriers in the country. They hold many of the 'so called franchise' of the Blue Cross Shield Association. Most commonly known as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the former Unicare of the Midwest. In the news recently, Wellpoint talked about the acquisition of 1800contacts.com. What does this mean for business owners and their employees?
Without being on the inside, we can only speculate what it can mean. Let's ask a valid question. Why does a major insurance carrier purchase a non-insurance related product? Could this mean 1800Contacts.com needed help? Or could it be the insurance company is diversifying their portfolio with Healthcare Reform among us heading into 2014 when it is fully in force. We can be dead on or off our rocker. In either case, some may say this could mean not so good news for business owners.
We are less than two years out from the healthcare reform bill being fully implemented. Insurance companies have already pushed premiums up due to the increased number of mandates, to just over 2,000 from just under 300, had to lay off thousands of employees that now stand in line at the unemployment office. The media and politicians have done a great job of covering up the aftermath. The bad news is there is still more to roll out regarding the healthcare reform bill. In some ways, this is just the start of it. There is much more in store for businesses, families and individuals; American citizens.
The acquisition of 1800contacts.com could mean major health insurance carriers are looking to diversify their portfolio of assets to have a revenue stream outside of the insurance market all together. The impact of the increased mandates and the medical loss ratio (MLR) has made profiting more difficult to accomplish. The push on Wall street is less forgiving for setbacks. Even Google keeps looking for additional revenue streams. Insurance companies have and will continue to look for revenue streams. It's just health insurance carriers are looking outside of the insurance industry to offset the profit choking healthcare reform bill that has resulted with layoffs and offices to close.
In the coming weeks of June, 2012, we sit and wait for the Supreme Court's answers to the healthcare reform. They could uphold the law, strip it down or fold it all together. Time will only tell how all of this will pan out. This is definitely uncharted waters for many business owners as well as insurance companies participating in health insurance. A major health insurance carrier moving into different markets should be no surprise. The impact on business owners is yet to be determine.
Butch Zemar www.EliteBenefits.net