Pandemic Will Decrease Costs, But Deferral Impact Looms

Health insurers will probably have lower health care expenditures in 2020 and 2021 than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new analysis from Willis Towers Watson. However, the white paper, which analyzed several scenarios of the severity of the pandemic, emphasizes that substantial risk is still possible, particularly from policy and politics — and says plan sponsors need to take proactive steps to blunt the future impact of deferred care.

The policy environment could change suddenly and dramatically depending on the outcome of California v. Texas, a suit that could lead the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act, and the presidential election. Trevis Parson, Willis Towers Watson’s managing director and chief actuary for health and benefits, who coauthored the analysis, says that uncertainty in the policy arena dominated his research.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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