Tag Archives: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

ACA: Leveraging the Affordable Care Act

Gavel, Stethoscope and Books on the American Flag with Selective Focus.

(This article was written by Rick Dacri and published in JobsinMe.com)

Understanding and implementing the Affordable Care Act has dominated the national conversation. Yet, while this is occurring, business executives have the arduous task of making sense of the law and then making the tough decisions that can work for their company, their workforce and, in many cases, the employees’ families.

Lost in the headlines, political grandstanding and conflicting implementation scenarios delivered by the experts is a strategic issue all executives should consider: what kind of company do I want to be? And then (from a tactical standpoint): how can I leverage health insurance to help me achieve this?

Legally Mandated for Large Companies

Health insurance is simply a benefit, just like any other benefit. It’s expensive and now for the first time, it is a legally mandated, just like workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation. As an organization, you must either provide insurance or send your employees to the health insurance exchanges to buy insurance on their own. Either way, there is a cost. If you’re small, your company is exempt, for now.

Using It to Your Advantage

But for a moment, let’s step back from the details to address an opportunity before you. Employees need health insurance. Many decisions in both seeking employment and remaining with an employer often come down to whether insurance is offered and its cost. Employers should look at health insurance as a powerful tool that they can leverage to recruit, retain and engage workers.

It is much more than simply another business cost. Dropping coverage or reducing employee hours to force them to go to the exchanges may yield short-term positive bottom line results, but is more likely to yield long-term negative consequences. Employees will go to work for someone else before shopping for their own health insurance coverage.

Building a Strategy, Culture

Employers should build a strategy around both wages and benefits. Know what makes sense for the business. Address the kind of work culture you want, around the brand that reflects who you are and who you want to be. Establish a clear philosophy around compensation and around employees that best reflects your brand. And remember, what impacts an employee often impacts the family.

Employers who take care of their employees, by either providing or even expanding coverage of those eligible for insurance, send a powerful message. They are betting that their employees will become fully engaged and loyal, resulting in increased employee retention, customer service and a corporate brand that draws job candidates like a powerful magnet. And all of this will result in increased sales and profits.

Rather than focusing on short-term savings by eliminating health insurance, these executives are wagering on their employees and the long-term health of their company by adding employees to the insurance rolls. This strategy focuses on nurturing their workforce and understanding that customer satisfaction requires happy, engaged employees.

It is the big picture approach. It’s a smart move; it’s strategic; and it makes good business sense. Employees are not going to stick around at a company that neither invests in them nor provides them affordable health insurance. The increased cost of health insurance coverage will provide a greater return on your investment.

If you want to know more about how I can help you, click Dacri & Associates.

If this post was of interest to you, you may want to read these:

  1. ObamaCare Good For Business
  2. How to Communicate with Employees About the Health Insurance Exchange
  3. HR HelpLine: When You Need Expert Advice

 

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Filed under Compliance, Insurance

How to Communicate w/ Employees About the Health Insurance Exchange

images(This post was written by Karen Aframe and Steve Gerlach of Bernstein Shur, September 5, 2013)

With the rollout of the Health Insurance Exchange (the “exchange”)—also known as the Health Insurance Marketplace—scheduled for this fall, and the employer’s exchange notice due by October 1, employers need to know how to talk to employees about the exchange. Here are some tips:

Comply with Notice Requirements

  • Exchange Notice. Effective October 1, 2013, employers are required to provide a notice to employees about the exchange including that they may have access to subsidies if their employer does not offer affordable health care. Model notices are available on the Employee Benefits Security Administration website.

How to Communicate

  • Focus on what matters now. The Affordable Care Act is an enormously complicated law; communicating too much to employees can be unnecessarily confusing. Don’t overwhelm employees with “what if” scenarios, or how things may turn out in 2018.
  • Plan for ongoing communication. Use all resources available to you and keep employees updated on current developments.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Make it accessible. Use intranet, social media, videos and real-life examples to help explain.

What to Communicate

  • Tell employees that the ACA is now the law. According to recent surveys by Kaiser Family Foundation, 40 percent of Americans do not know the ACA is the law.
  • Communicate that the ACA changes many rules about health insurance in 2014. For example:
  • Insurance companies must accept everyone who applies for coverage, regardless of health status.
  • The individual mandate requires that every individual must be covered or pay a fine.
  • Employers are required to provide employees with information regarding employees’ ability to purchase health insurance on the exchange.
  • Focus on the exchange.
  • Explain that exchanges are marketplaces where individuals and small employers can buy health insurance.
  • Explain that government subsidies are available for some individuals who purchase health insurance on the exchange, but that if the individual is offered coverage through his or her employer that meets certain minimum standards, the individual may not be eligible.
  • Communicate that the exchange may be helpful to some employees, e.g., part-time employees, seasonal employees, early retirees and temporary workers.

What To Avoid

  • Avoid discussing with employees the administrative burden or financial impact that the ACA is having on the company.
  • Avoid offering advice to employees regarding the type of insurance he or she should select.
  • Avoid inducing your employee to purchase health insurance through the exchange rather than through the employer or vice versa.

 Want to add to the story? Let us know in the comments or send an email to Rick Dacri at rick@dacri.com.

You may also enjoy these posts:

  1. Health Insurance: Decision Time
  2. ObamaCare Good for Business
  3. Affordable Care: What’s Delayed and What’s Not

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Filed under Compliance, Employee Relations, Uncategorized

Fall Means Final End of Year Check-Up On Your Business

images(Posted by Rick Dacri on August 28, 2013)

The summer is nearly over and now it’s time to look forward to the fall. I wanted to check in with you and suggest a check-up on your operation. The economy continues to heat up and there’s a lot happening, so I wanted to take a moment to provide you a brief list of important items you should be focusing on to help you make managing your business a bit easier:

1. Turnover is Increasing: With an improving market, there is strong evidence that employees are feeling more confident and many, particularly coveted star performers, are beginning to look to make job changes. That’s not good for you.

Advice: Make sure your managers and supervisors are focused on employee retention. Implement a progressive retention program and initiate an annual employee satisfaction survey to take a pulse of your organization.

2. ACA Deadlines: Deadlines for the Affordable Care Act are upon us.  

 

My Advice: Make sure your plan meets all the new requirements and plan to provide employee education programs. You may also want to change your new enrollments dates and your benefit eligibility requirements. Update your classifications for full-time and part-time employees and evaluate whether it makes sense to restructure your staffing to address “pay or play” thresholds.

3. Evaluate Your Hiring: As the economy expands, you may find the need to add staff. With an improving economy, finding good people is proving more difficult.

My Advice: Continue reading

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Filed under Leadership, Management

Health Insurance: Decision Time

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(Written by Rick Dacri & published in the York County Coast Star, August 22, 2013)

It’s decision time. The deadlines for implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are fast approaching. Delay, in hopes that Congress will suddenly derail it, is a mistake.

Most employers have moved beyond a wait and see approach and are taking steps to deal with the new rules and regulations. The Act is complex and employers should quickly meet with their health insurance brokers to get their advice and counsel. The focus must be on developing the correct tactics to handle the vast implications of the Affordable Care Act.

The news has been filled with stories of companies opting to drop their existing health insurance coverage, fire workers to fall below the 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) threshold for mandatory coverage or reduce employee hours below 30 to avoid offering coverage. The reality is very different. What I hear from my clients is that they definitely plan to continue providing coverage and this trend is affirmed by a recent International Foundation of Employee Benefits survey. 69% of participants indicated they would definitely continue coverage and another 25% said they are likely to do so. Only 4% said they are likely or leaning toward dropping coverage.

Employers who currently do not offer health insurance must now decide whether to continue that practice or not. Under the “play or pay” rules, Continue reading

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Filed under Compliance

ObamaCare Good For Business

imagesPosted By Rick Dacri, June 12, 2013

Many of the pundits are warning that companies will be laying off workers or reducing work hours to skirt the regulations that require them to provide health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. One company has said “nonsense” and is actually allowing part-time employees to increase their hours so that they can become eligible for the insurance, thus increasing the number of employees who will be receiving health insurance at their company. The Cumberland Gulf Group (Cumberland Farms Convenience Stores) believes that by taking care of their employees, they will see improvements in employee engagement, retention and customer service, all resulting in increased sales and profits. Rather than focusing on short-term savings by eliminating health insurance, they’re betting on their employees and the long-term health of their company by adding employees to the insurance rolls.

The Cumberland Gulf Group has made employee satisfaction a corporate priority and knows that expanding benefit coverage to more of their employees is one way to achieve this. They realize that customer satisfaction requires happy, engaged employees.

Cumberland is taking the big picture approach. It’s a smart move; it’s strategic; and it makes good business sense. Employees are not going to stick around a company that neither invests in them nor provides them affordable health insurance.

What do you think of Cumberland’s decision?  Comment below.

 Other posts you might want to read:

If you want to know more about Dacri & Associates and how we can help you, click here: Dacri & Associates

 

 

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Filed under Compliance, Leadership