Affordable Care Act could mean layoffs at Assurant Health in Milw.

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The CEO of Assurant Health in Milwaukee says the Affordable Care Act could cost some Milwaukee workers their job. That CEO says Assurant may have to lay off some of its staff because the law eliminates the need for their jobs.

Assurant Health employs some 2,000 insurance underwriters in Milwaukee and other offices. Underwriters are the people who determine how much people pay for health care based on pre-existing conditions and other factors.

"The Affordable Care Act eliminates underwriting. You can get insurance now, even if you have a pre-existing condition," Rich Kirchen with the Milwaukee Business Journal said.

The new law makes it easier for sick people to get insurance, but it'll also mean those underwriters will be looking for work -- according to Kirchen.

"We've known for a long time that we weren't going to need these underwriting functions anymore.  The flip side of that is, there are many people with pre-existing conditions for example who were not able to get insurance before, who are now able to get insurance, so it's one of those trade-offs of the law," Kirchen said.

Recently the CEO of Assurant Health told investors the company will undergo: "Additional restructuring actions in the fourth quarter largely due to the elimination of underwriting for major medical policies effective January 14th, 2014 as required under the Affordable Care Act."

"In the corporate world, 'restructuring' means layoffs," Kirchen said.

Gov. Scott Walker has voiced his frustration with the law.

"I'm frustrated with the whole process.  Obviously for years I've raised concerns about the Affordable Care Act," Gov. Walker said.

On Capitol Hill, the Obama administration again faced heavy criticism on Tuesday, October 29th for the clumsy roll out of the insurance exchanges.

Meanwhile, workers are Assurant are waiting to hear whether they'll be laid off.

"There are some parts of the health care industry that are going to feel the pain more than others and this is one example of that," Kirchen said.

Assurant Health released the following statement to FOX6 News on Tuesday:

"Today, Assurant Health notified employees of workforce reductions primarily due to the elimination of underwriting for certain products under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and to reduce operational expenses. Approximately 108 positions are impacted at the company's Milwaukee, Boise, Idaho and Plymouth and Woodbury, Minn locations. Affected employees will receive severance based on years of service as well as career transition support. Many impacted employees will remain with the company through the end of the year.

While eliminating positions is always a difficult decision, Assurant Health is adapting to changes in the health insurance industry and ensuring our workforce is appropriately aligned to business needs. In business for 121 years, our company remains committed to serving the unique needs of individuals and small businesses by providing quality, affordability and choice through our broad product portfolio."

1 Comment

  • Teresa R Cyganiak-Piraino

    This company has been laying people off for years. Its all an attempt to make more money for the CEO’s They cut their work force but they never take a cut. While I agree the Affordable Health Care act is going to cost workers. This layoff today has been in the works for years.

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