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View from the healthcare “boogeyman”: How will insurance companies cope with health reform?

They are the targets of almost universal scorn, from doctors to patients to President Obama who used the rate increases of Anthem-Blue Cross to make the final sales pitch for his healthcare reform plan: insurance companies are easy to hate and yet have been the vital linchpin to delivering medical care in the U.S. for several decades. When the President signed comprehensive healthcare legislation this morning he set in motion a fundamental shift in how insurance companies will do business. Facing an expanding list of restrictions but also a rapidly expanding customer base, it could be argued that the reform law’s most direct impact will be felt among insurance companies rather than the medical consumers. Every part of the industry, from pharmaceutical companies to hospitals, will feel the affect of healthcare reform—how will ultimately pass those changes onto you, the customer?