The law also limits how much insurers can vary pricing based on age and health.
"In the past, it was relatively easy to just absorb increases in health care costs and pass them through to customers via higher premiums," said Matthew Coffina, a Morningstar analyst who covers health insurers. "That equation is sort of breaking down now, which is forcing them to be more careful on the cost side, to try to contain costs in whatever way they can."
Drugmakers and hospitals may get a boost. Hospitals typically provide charity care to uninsured people and are reimbursed for only part of it. Now, they'll be paid through insurance for more people. And drugmakers will benefit from the law because starting in 2014, millions more will gain prescription coverage.
Still, drugmakers will have to give the government rebates on drugs bought through Medicaid. And they must give discounts to the elderly that will rise over time.Obama's re-election also likely means medical device makers will start paying a 2.3 percent tax. They vowed to continue lobbying Congress to try to head off the tax. "There may be an opportunity to address the tax before it goes into effect on Jan. 1," said J.C. Scott, chief lobbyist for AdvaMed, the industry's main trade group. â¿¿ FINANCIAL REGULATION: The 2010 overhaul of financial rules marked a victory for Obama. Officials who are still carrying out the details of the law may now be more likely to take a tough stance. One example is an oversight plan for derivatives â¿¿ complex investments that speculators use to make bets and companies use to hedge against risk. Financial companies have fought for looser rules and exceptions for derivatives used by farmers who want to lock in prices before a harvest. Obama's victory means financial companies, which mostly backed Romney, might lose influence in these negotiations. His re-election also figures to embolden the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau aims to protect people from hidden fees and other unfair practices by financial companies.
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