The new federal health law risk management programs could scramble old carrier strategies for managing risk.

Jason Petroske and Jason Siegel, actuaries at Milliman, write in a new commentary that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "3Rs" programs could make older patients and those with chronic health problems, such as heart disease and cancer, the most profitable people to insure in the individual and small-group markets.

If individual and small-group plans as a whole end up insuring far more sicker, older patients than they expected, that could swamp the whole market, the Milliman actuaries warn.

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Allison Bell

Allison Bell, a senior reporter at ThinkAdvisor and BenefitsPRO, previously was an associate editor at National Underwriter Life & Health. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached through X at @Think_Allison.