The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now fully effective for all companies with fewer than 100 full-time employees. While most of the debates about this new law concern the financial repercussions brought upon small businesses, there's also a significant impact on medical malpractice matters that is worth being mentioned. If you're a medical malpractice attorney, keep reading to find out the potential implications of Obamacare on medical malpractice matters.
What are the effects of the ACA on medical malpractice?
As you might know, the repercussions of Obamacare are diverse and include:
- Increase of the number of insured people
- Dilution of the relationship between physicians and patients
- Appearance of new sets of risks for insurers
- Expansion of the coverage plans being currently offered
According to a recent poll conducted by Gallup, an increasing number of people are getting health insurance in the U.S., and given the pace at which this trend is going, it's likely that this rate will keep on increasing during the next few years. Between the third quarters of 2013 and 2014, the percentage of uninsured people was cut by about 5 points. The fact that there are more insured people means that your legal expertise will be requested more often.
A second effect of the Obamacare on medical malpractice is the progressive dilution of the relationship between patients and doctors. Patients will now be directed to medical experts that collaborate with accountable care organizations (ACOs). This will cause patients to interact with a variety of healthcare players, and ultimately lead to care discontinuity. Those healthcare players are:
Because of the discontinuity of care, medical malpractice insurers will now deal with the transfer of risks from physicians to hospitals. Indeed, hospitals have been using their higher spending power to purchase individual medical practices, which is why the majority of risk exposure has been shifted away from doctors. Traditionally, it was relatively easy for you to find who was at-fault on medical malpractice cases. Under the new model, you'll have more trouble establishing such responsibility, mainly because of care discontinuity.
Finally, medical malpractice will be affected by the expansion of the health coverage plans sold by industry insurers. This is to ensure that all the risks associated will be properly covered. But it's highly unlikely that medical practice insurers be able to anticipate all the legal issues that might occur because of the ACA application. This is consistent with the idea that the number of medical malpractice cases is expected to go up as a result of the decreasing uninsured rate.
From a legal perspective, it's fairly easy to see how the ACA will bring you more business. Indeed, once the newly insured people have become familiar with the healthcare system, they'll be the ones filing most of the new claims and thus needing your legal knowledge. To learn more, contact a company like Marzella RJ & Associates with any questions you have.