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5 industries poised to benefit from the Affordable Care Act

Sep 5th, 2013

affordable care act

Credit: Damian Gadal via Flickr

In less than a month now the first major provision of the Affordable Care Act will come into being: the establishment of state and federal health insurance marketplaces. The marketplaces, also known as exchanges, are set to open on October 1 and will sell federally subsidized health insurance plans that go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014 along with the bulk of the other major ACA provisions.

As we countdown the days until then, there seem to be more stories every day about how the ACA will negatively impact businesses. whether it’s laying off employees or dropping health benefits for existing ones. But there has to be an upside to the legislation if it’s actually the cause of all these problems. We did some research found five industries that are poised to benefit from the Affordable Care Act as its provisions are phased in over the next year and beyond.

Five Industries likely to benefit from the Affordable Care Act

 

1. Staffing Agencies

In July, the Obama administration announced a one year delay of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate. Under the ACA a full-time employee is anyone working at least 30 hours each week, and any business who has at least 50 full-time employees falls under the jurisdiction of the ACA’s employer mandate starting in 2015.

Still though some businesses say the delay came too late in the game and were already on their way to avoiding the employer mandate in 2014. To do that many employers announced their plans to cut the hours of full time staff and replace them with part-timers. But work still needs to get done, so where might businesses get the bodies in the door that they need to remain profitable, staffing agencies.

 

2. Accounting and Tax Firms

The ACA relies heavily on the Internal Revenue Service to regulate and enforce its rules. Pretty much all of the law’s regulations are enforced by the IRS.

So businesses looking to avoid the harsh financial penalties under the ACA need to make sure their taxes are filed correctly and on time. The estimated yearly penalty for a business with 50 or more full-time employees that doesn’t provide health insurance is $40,000, so no need to risk that much money by filing a bad tax return.

 

3. Electronic Medical Record Companies

Part of the Affordable Care Act mandates that hospitals implement what are called electronic medical records (EMR). These are exactly what they sound like, digitized versions of patients’ health records. This make it easier for doctors in different hospitals and offices to look up health histories.

EMR companies have seen a healthy bump in their stock prices since the ACA became law, and there’s a reason for that. According to numbers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since 2008 about 9 percent of doctors were using EMR’s meaningfully, and in now in 2013 that number is 80 percent.

Aside from being a powerful tool in fighting for the health of patients, the cost of installing EMR systems is subsidized by federal stimulus grants as long as the organizations using them can demonstrate “meaningful use” for them.

 

4. Hospital Operators

This one is a no brainer, who is going to benefits the most by people having health insurance (aside from the people themselves) will be those that get paid by health insurance. Meaning the doctors and more importantly hospital operators.

 

5. Insurance Companies

Sure these guys love to complain about Obamacare, but at the end of the day it’s the American people who are the ones being mandated to buy their products. According to Fox News, insurers like Cigna, Aetna and United Health have each seen a healthy increase in their stock value in the years since the Affordable Care Act became law.

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