Could Obamacare Loophole Undermine Health Exchanges?

Bloomberg highlights a possible loophole in the Affordable Care Act that could undermine the viability of the healthcare exchanges:

“Can an employer pay chronically ill workers to leave the company health plan and get insurance somewhere else?”

“The potential loophole in the Affordable Care Act could threaten the viability of Obamacare marketplaces if they get the most expensive-to-insure workers while companies keep healthier employees on their own plans. Some mid-sized companies that self-insure—that is, they pay the cost of employees’ medical claims directly—are at least talking about the idea.”

“Such a practice may be illegal, and it might leave business owners open to employment discrimination claims [but] the fact that companies are even savvy enough to [consider the possibility of sending their sickest employees to the exchanges] reflects how much executives have grappled with the rising costs of medical insurance over the past decade.”

Attorney John L. Barlament says he “wouldn’t be shocked at all” if some employers try it next year. “Once [the Obamacare marketplaces] really get rolling, I could definitely see this happening in 2015.”

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