ACA Repeal’s Impact on Workers Compensation Costs

Workers Comp ACA

Since its proposal and eventual passage, President Barack Obama’s signature legislation has been a focus point for politicians on both sides of the aisle. Most Republican candidates vowed to repeal the law during the 2016 election cycle. Newly elected President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans are now working toward completing this campaign promise.  While businesses may see some cost benefits associated with a cutback or full repeal, there may be some unintended consequences associated with the move.

As reported by CBS affiliate WFMY News, one of those consequences to business may be felt in Workers Compensation costs. While WFMY simply provides this as a supposition, there is some notable data related to the issue.

WFMY notes that “Trump’s desire to cut back on funds for national health insurance programs such as [M]edicare and [M]edicaid will also put a strain on workers’ comp. Premiums are likely to go up as medical costs increase.” Additionally, they write that “[t]he ACA goes a long way to ensure that workers’ comp costs are kept low and affordable.” While the ACA has no language that specifies Workers Compensation policy, a 2016 research publication from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) suggests a potential positive impact on Workers Compensation costs.

Among the key findings of this research is the fact that wellness programs instituted by the ACA, in particular, those geared toward lowering obesity rates, “might reduce workers compensation medical costs by 3% to 4%”.

It is unclear how new cutbacks and changes to the ACA will affect Workers Compensation. Potential cutbacks on the ACA’s universal coverage rules may see an increase in Workers Compensation filings as a result. This may impact Workers Compensation costs for businesses, including premium increases.