You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Health care industry braces for new law’s impact


If health care reform works according to plan, a tidal wave of new patients will hit physician practices, pharmacies, insurance agencies, hospitals and other health care providers across the state.

About 83,000 of the estimated 1.5 million uninsured Ohioans are expected to sign up for coverage next year on the state’s Health Insurance Marketplace — the centerpiece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will offer subsidized health insurance to millions of Americans who have had little or no access to health care in the past.

“That’s a lot of opportunity,” said Phil Parks, vice president of marketing at the Wagner Insurance Agency in Dayton. “I think what you’re seeing today is people who have been selling insurance for a long time who see the opportunity and are gearing up and getting ready.”

Consumers do not need an insurance agent to sign up for coverage in the marketplace, but a licensed agent or broker can help them navigate the system and sign up for coverage and receive a commission on the monthly premium from the insurer, Parks said.

He said most people signing up for insurance for the first time will need help dealing with the paperwork and administrative hassles that go along with buying insurance and filing claims.

“We can answer all their questions and do all the things we were trained to do when we got into the insurance business,” Parks said. “We think that will be an invaluable service that people are going to turn to us for.

“Depending on the numbers that come in, we could very quickly find it necessary to add people to our health division,” he said.

Once they have health insurance, many new enrollees are expected to head to the doctor as soon as they can.

Springfield resident Mendelynn Fisher, 62, said she has not been able to afford health insurance in the past on her Social Security survivors benefits.

But she’s anxious to see what her options might be on the health insurance exchange — where she would likely eligible for a generous federal subsidy to help pay for coverage — and has already made plans to see a doctor.

“I haven’t had blood work done in six or seven years,” Fisher said. “I feel fine. I don’t have any symptoms of anything. But I’m a smoker, and you never know.

“I’m already thinking about making an appointment this fall because I feel like a lot of people are going to be making appointments by the time you can go see a doctor next year,” she said.

The marketplace’s six-month enrollment period begins Tuesday with coverage starting Jan. 1.

But nobody knows for sure exactly how many people will enroll, and that has given some health care providers reason for pause.

“We’re not making preparations for a huge increase in volume at this point,” said Terri Day, president of Kettering Health Network. “But if we see that and it starts to go that way, we certainly can accommodate that.”

She said increased coverage under the health care law would affect all segments of the health care network, including outpatient sites, primary care offices and urgent care facilities.

But while the hospital is maintaining “flexible” staffing levels, how that staff will be deployed or augmented won’t be determined until after the health care law is fully implemented next year.

Many hospitals are in the same boat and unsure of how they’ll be affected by the health care law. But one thing is certain: “It will no longer be business as usual,” said Bryan Bucklew, president and chief executive of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association.

That’s because the health care law will change fundamentally the way hospitals operate by tying government reimbursements to reducing hospital re-admissions and providing better chronic disease care to reduce the number of overall admissions.

“For years, the primary objective of hospitals was to put butts in beds,” Bucklew said. “Now, it has shifted almost 180 degrees. Only people that need to be going to the hospital should be going to the hospital. It’s paradigm shift.”

Still, the health care law will open a variety of opportunities throughout the health care system, in many cases staring with primary care doctors, said Dr. Donald Nguyen, a Dayton-area pediatrician and state director for Doctors for America — a national group of doctors and medical students that support health care reform.

“As doctors, we’re preparing for increased demand, but it’s not like it’s going to happen all at once,” Nguyen said. “Everybody who gets insurance isn’t going to make an appoint to see a doctor on the same day. But people who have insurance will no longer be reluctant to go see a doctor, and that’s where you will see steady and growing demand for our services.”

Expanded insurance coverage under the health care law is likely to boost and already robust health care industry in the Dayton area.

Locally, health care accounted for about 13 percent of all workers employed in the Dayton metro area in the first half of this year, according to a recent Brookings Institution’s “Metro Monitor” report.

By comparison, employment in the top 300 metro areas varied from just 7 percent of total employment in the Las Vegas metro area to 20 percent in the McAllen, Texas, metro area, Brookings found.

“Health care has become an essential industry in this area,” said Chris Kershner, vice president of public policy and economic development for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. “As they (health car providers) continue to have success, the region will continue to be successful.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

Troopers seize 22 pounds of pot, 12 pounds of THC edibles worth more than $150K
Troopers seize 22 pounds of pot, 12 pounds of THC edibles worth more than $150K

A traffic stop this week led troopers to seize more than $150,000 in marijuana and edibles containing THC, the chemical responsible for the psychological effects of pot. Adam R. Bye, 25, of Taylor, Michigan, was stopped at 1:25 p.m. Tuesday on Interstate 75 in Shelby County for a turn signal violation, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Troopers...
Gunman targets Security National Bank in Springfield
Gunman targets Security National Bank in Springfield

Springfield police investigators remain on the scene after an armed robbery happened late this morning at Security National Bank in Springfield. The robbery was reported around 1:45 p.m., shortly before the noon Saturday closing time at the bank, 1756 N. Limestone St., when a man with a gun approached a teller. The suspect possibly fled in a red Chevrolet...
Active shooter training factor in West Liberty-Salem HS shooting
Active shooter training factor in West Liberty-Salem HS shooting

A flood of panicked calls started pouring in to the Champaign County Sheriffs office at 7:36 a.m. Friday, reporting an active shooter on the premises at West Liberty-Salem High School, but little else, according to Senior Dispatcher Robin Ballard. RELATED: West Liberty shooting rocks community. Ballard said she and two other Champaign County dispatchers...
Stafford: News-Sun morgue alive at Heritage Center
Stafford: News-Sun morgue alive at Heritage Center

The morgue is alive again. It’s not alive in quite the same way it was when I habitually slipped in and out of it on the third floor of the News-Sun Building. Still, in the roughly 100 boxes shelved in the Clark County Heritage Center library, the largest body of its material is available to the public. Those who aren’t arthritic journalists...
Deadly storm tears through Mississippi
Deadly storm tears through Mississippi

A severe storm — including a tornado — tore through southern Mississippi early Saturday, damaging several buildings in Hattiesburg. At least four people have been killed. A search and rescue operation continues in Hattiesburg, Mayor Johnny DuPree said. Most of the damage appeared to be in the downtown's outskirts, DuPree told CNN. A fire...
More Stories