Most of the major Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) product design and underwriting rules are really here now, especially for the larger employers that already have to think about the PPACA employee counting rules.
For worksite and voluntary benefits sellers, for now, at least, the effects of PPACA on their market seem to be small, hazy or positive.
Executives from Aflac Inc. (NYSE:AFL) mentioned changes in health policy in Japan, where Aflac is a major seller of cancer insurance and medical insurance, when they went over first-quarter earnings. They mentioned the effects of PPACA on U.S. sales of supplemental products just once.
Executives from Unum Group Corp. (NYSE:UNM) talked cheerfully about the effects of PPACA on the voluntary business at the company’s Unum US and Colonial Life units.
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Aflac is reporting $663 million in net income for the first quarter on $5.2 billion in revenue, compared with $732 million in net income on $5.6 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2014.
In the United States, in-force premiums increased 1.8 percent, to $5.6 billion, but annualized new sales fell 1.2 percent, to $310 million.
At Unum US, voluntary benefits premium income rose 9.4 percent, to $192 million. Voluntary benefits sales grew 28 percent, to $132 million.
The Colonial Life worksite and voluntary benefits unit increased premium income 5 percent, to $332 million, and sales 7.6 percent, to $78 million.
Sales of accident, sickness and disability products increased 5.6 percent, and sales of cancer and critical illness insurance increased 11 percent.
Michael Simonds, president of Unum US described the voluntary benefits market as somewhat “harder,” but still competitive. “We still see some players out there that are looking to grow share, or, in some cases, recover some share using price as a lever,” he said.