June 28, 2012

The Supreme Court's decision today to uphold almost all of the Affordable Care Act should come as a relief to insurance company technologists who have been working on compliance efforts. Barring a legislative upset, it's unlikely we'll see any more major changes to the regulatory framework around health insurance for quite a while. Therefore, IT departments can safely finish up their work on this piece and then get back to the business of further improving their companies.

That's assuming those two projects are mutually exclusive, which I don't think has to be the case. Health insurers have been leaders in leveraging regulatory pressure to drive innovation in their environments. Compliance efforts offer an opportunity to make much-needed changes in insurers' technology environments. In fact, in the weeks leading up to this decision, it was revealed that companies hadn't even slowed down on compliance efforts, and many insurers announced plans to adapt their businesses to some of the reforms.

The final confirmation that yes, there will be many more health insurance customers in the near future should also serve to drive innovation efforts. Not only will insurers need to scale up, but they must also anticipate the demands of more customers for service via digital channels. This decision provides a prime opening to rationalize the installation of next-generation core systems at health insurers that can meet these increased needs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, ...