I recently joined Pete the Planner for my monthly appearance (2nd Sunday of each month) on his 93 WIBC radio show to talk Health Care Reform. To listen to the podcast, you can download it here.
Come 2014, every American must have qualified coverage or face a tax penalty. With the full implementation being less than a year away, the ACA will all too soon become a reality and there are aspects that will greatly affect both employer and employee alike.
The Kaiser Family Foundation’s infographic (below) does an excellent job of summarizing what these penalties may mean for an individual. This radio segment highlights the potential that employers have to use this as an opportunity for “disruptive innovation.”
The ACA states that minimum essential coverage must be offered to substantially all (95%) full-time employees (FTEs) and their dependent children. In addition, employees must be given an effective opportunity to accept (or decline) coverage at least once during the plan year. Should an employer decide not to offer coverage, a penalty of $166.67 per month ($2,000 annually) per FTE (minus 30 employee credit) will be assessed if at least one FTE purchases coverage in the public exchange and qualifies for a premium tax credit/subsidy.
So rather than see this as a negative, many employers are seizing the opportunities to create, innovate, and develop new ideas that lead to a healthier and more engaged workforce. No surprise. That’s what great organizations do and how many become winning cultures that attract and retain employee talent.
This morning, our CEO, Bryan Brenner, was a part of a Health Care Reform panel at the Indiana Chamber Board of Director’s Meeting. Lots of meaningful discussion surrounded Health Care Reform and what’s next for employers. Below are three key takeaways from the morning:
On the surface, deciding to “pay” rather than “play” is financially attractive. The $2,000 per full-time employee annual penalty is generally less expensive than providing group health coverage to employees. However, we find employers making the decision to “play” based on the following factors:
Ability to recruit and retain top talent
Desire to maintain a culture of wellness and employee engagement
Uncertainty about available alternatives (public exchanges are undeveloped and the impact of community ratings are unknown)
Private exchanges are a “hot topic” these days. Employers are intrigued by the idea of providing benefits to their employees via online marketplaces. But, don’t jump aboard too soon. Here are two concepts you may not have thought about yet:
Myth #1. Private exchanges will:
Offer large inventory of medical plans from different carriers
Allow access to pooled underwriting and economies of scale
Fact: Choice among a variety of carriers will likely be limited to large employers (think 2,000 lives or more). Smaller employers must choose one carrier, choose available options (or have them chosen for the employer), and be separately underwritten.
Myth #2. Private exchanges will relieve employers from certain responsibilities and liabilities.
Fact: Employers providing ERISA benefits (such as health coverage) through a private exchange remain as plan sponsors, with all of the legal requirements that go along with it (similar to 401(k) plan sponsors).
The PPACA legislation is here to stay. We can choose to complain about it, or we can see Health Care Reform as an opportunity for disruptive innovation. Are you willing to approach Health Care Reform as a chance to refocus your approach to benefits, wellness, engagement, and branded communication? Choose to move forward. Choose to be innovative. And you will find your employees are more engaged by doing so.
Bottom line: Health Care Reform increases the need for employers to focus on stronger partnerships that bring clinicians closer to their employees. When clinicians and employees are brought together, better health outcomes happen. Who you choose as your partner(s) has never been more important!
Yesterday, we celebrated our Sweet 16 success – ranking 16 in the small employer category for “Best Places to Work in Indiana.” So we wanted to share with you some of the best practices that placed 13 of our clients on this list as well.
Receiving an award is an honor, it is also much more honorable to be recognized as an employer of choice by your most valuable asset – your employees. To achieve a culture in which your employees are engaged and satisfied, Mark Minner and Paul Ashley give you practical tips while referencing SHRM’s Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement survey. Don’t miss out, it’s all in this week’s episode of FirstPeeps!
Which factor of job satisfaction, according to SHRM, will you tackle first?
Opportunities to use skills and abilities
Communication between employees and senior management
Relationship with immediate supervisor
By tackling one aspect at a time, you and your company will climb the ladder to be a 2014 “Best Places to Work in Indiana.”
Business leaders think carefully about how they communicate. They make sure their messages are consistent, and that they reflect their overall brand. They strive to connect with audiences regularly, and to make sure they’re speaking in a language customers can understand.
Unless they’re marketing benefits to their employees, too many businesses violate these practices.
The good news is that more and more businesses realize that they need to increase the sophistication of benefits communications. As a result, branded benefits plans are expanding beyond the once-a-year, enrollment-time information blitz to deliver consistent, year-round benefits communications.
On Tuesday, April 22, HR Leaders and key decision makers from Indiana businesses with 51 or more employees gathered together. They joined the FirstPerson team to address some key questions about Health Care Reform, such as:
During my undergraduate studies, I minored in German. And in most of my classes, participation accounted for 50% of the overall grade. The grade represents how important participation is to understand foreign concepts.
Although it’s technically not a foreign language, Health Care Reform is something that sure seems foreign to many decision makers at the moment.
On April 16, small business decision makers from across the state of Indiana joined us for a session created to answer their questions about Health Care Reform. In this session we answered key questions such as:
Although we experienced a longer than normal winter in the Midwest, the calendar is moving ever closer to January 1, 2014, a date that brings with it more comprehensive changes to the landscape of employer-provided health benefits since… well, since employers began providing health benefits. As a result, employers are asking more questions than ever before. “Should we drop group health and guide employees to the public exchange marketplace?” “What about these so-called ‘private exchanges’ – are they a good option for us?” “What impact will this have on our company’s costs and culture?”
As we’ve addressed these and similar questions to help employers develop a 2014 strategy, we see a clear trend: Employers know they need to budget for increasing costs, but they’re not ready to make wholesale changes to their health plans. Why this “wait and see” attitude? Here are a couple of reasons:
Sometimes it just makes sense to go the extra mile. Life happens, and we understand. That’s why when our clients and their employees are faced with an unexpected situation, we find a way to a just and timely solution.
As we celebrate National Employee Benefits Day, we highlight a story of compassion, creativity, and perseverance that gave a client’s employee, Sarah (whose name has been changed out of respect to her privacy), access to a treatment she needed.
In the fall, Sarah was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. In looking at her next steps, the physician requested that she have proton beam therapy as treatment. Unfortunately, Sarah’s insurance carrier denied the request, stating that the appropriate treatment was radiation therapy.
Mathilosophy is something that will allow you to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is a term that has come about with the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act just around the corner. It’s time to consider both the math and philosophy (or mathilosophy) when determining your organization’s Health Care Reform strategy.
If all you do is run the numbers, you will miss out on the cultural impact. If you only think philosophically about culture, you will miss out on potential savings or incur a crippling cost. In considering the mathilosophy, you can formulate a strategy that will allow your organization to flourish in confusing and changing times.
On this week’s episode of FirstPeeps, Mark and Paul look at the tools you need to successfully attack Health Care Reform with matphilosophy.
Earlier this week we hosted our first Fresh Perspectives session of the season. Deb Hunter and Scott Thompson were joined by special guest Nicole Ross, Principal, Global Employment Branding & Creativity, ExactTarget.
The presentation, titled, “Change Hits the Workplace—Are You Prepared?” focused on how to successfully address life events and changes that affect an organization’s employees (sometimes without notice). Tips were provided on how to effectively communicate to employees through branded materials while complying with HR processes.
How do the following life changing events affect your company?