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Health Care Symposium takeaway: Change is constant

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The Business Journal's Health Care Symposium was held this morning at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey.
The Business Journal's Health Care Symposium was held this morning at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey. - (Photo / Amy Spangler)

Change is the one constant in health care today, speakers said at the Business Journal's annual symposium.

Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Mike Consedine started the symposium with a reference to the evolving Highmark-UPMC relationship, saying he was in Pittsburgh yesterday for "yet another in a series of challenging days," comparing the implementation of Obamacare to a series of mountains upon mountains.

"We climbed every mountain because we had to," he said. Then he referenced the conflicting federal appeals courts rulings on subsidies earlier this week, calling them another example of the ongoing challenges that everyone in health care faces.

Looking forward, Consedine said he expects small groups will be more impacted by the next cycle of health insurance renewals than they were the past one. And, he said, his department is seeing increasing tensions between providers and insurers.

"We're working very hard to ensure that consumers are not caught in the middle," he said.

Representatives from prominent local insurers and providers then gave the audience examples of how they're responding to those challenges, whether it be by partnering with other systems or incorporating higher deductibles and narrower networks into their plans or finding new ways to integrate physicians and align incentives.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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