The expansion of health insurance accomplished under the Affordable Care Act may alter costs for several major types of liability insurance, although any such changes are likely to be modest, according to a new RAND Corporation report.
Automobile, workers' compensation and general business liability insurance costs may fall under the Affordable Care Act, while costs for medical malpractice coverage could be higher, according to the study.
Researchers say the changes could be as much as 5 percent of costs in some states, but caution there is considerable uncertainty surrounding such estimates. The findings are from one of the first systematic studies of how the Affordable Care Act could influence costs for liability and related lines of insurance.
"The Affordable Care Act is unlikely to dramatically affect liability costs, but it may influence small and moderate changes in costs over the next several years," said David Auerbach, the study's lead author and a policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "For example, auto insurers may spend less for treating injuries, while it may cost a bit more to provide physicians with medical malpractice coverage."
RAND researchers examined how the Affordable Care Act might operate across different liability lines and how the impacts might vary across states given existing laws, population demographics and other factors.
Liability insurance companies reimburse tens of billions of dollars each year for medical care related to auto accidents, workplace injuries and other types of claims. For example, auto insurers collectively paid $35 billion for medical costs associated with accidents in 2007, about 2 percent of all U.S. health care costs in that year.
But some of those costs may be covered by regular health insurance as more Americans become newly covered under the Affordable Care Act, according to the study.
As that happens, the cost of providing automobile insurance, workers compensation and homeowners insurance may decline. Ultimately, any cost changes experienced by insurance companies could be passed on to consumers through changes in premiums and coverage options.
Meanwhile, an increase in the number of people using the health care system may trigger a corresponding increase in the number of medical malpractice claims made against physicians and other health care providers, according to the study. Such a shift could drive malpractice costs modestly higher.
Researchers say there are many state-level variables that will influence any impacts on liability costs created by the Affordable Care Act. This includes items such as whether states require medical costs to be deducted from liability awards or whether states choose to implement the Affordable Care Act's optional Medicaid expansion.
While the study primarily focuses on the short-term impacts of health reform on the cost of liability insurance, RAND researchers also suggest that the Affordable Care Act could have additional long-run impacts.
Costs of liability insurance could be reduced further if reforms aimed at driving down health care costs are successful, for example. Other potential long-run changes include modifications of tort law, shifts in pricing of medical services, changes in the number of practicing physicians and increased efforts by Medicaid to recover a portion of injury payments.
"This study highlights the far-reaching impacts of the Affordable Care Act," said Jayne Plunkett, head of casualty reinsurance for Swiss Re, a reinsurance company that sponsored the study. "Businesses and policymakers need to understand how and why their risk profiles might change as the Affordable Care Act is implemented."
The study, "How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect Liability Insurance Costs?" can be found at http://www.rand.org. Other authors of the report are Paul Heaton and Ian Brantley.
Research for the study was conducted by the RAND Institute for Civil Justice, a research institute within RAND Justice, Infrastructure and Environment. The Institute for Civil Justice is dedicated to improving the civil justice system by supplying policymakers and the public with rigorous and independent research.
Warren Robak | EurekAlert!
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine