Published on August 7, 2014
In human resources, autumn leaves signal one thing: health insurance open enrollment periods.
This annual event is particularly acute in 2014 for healthcare decision makers navigating the post-Affordable Care Act landscape. Ahead of Obamacare’s Nov. 15 open enrollment start, many small- to mid-sized employers are reassessing whether to discontinue their company-sponsored healthcare coverage altogether in favor of employee participation in state-based ACA marketplaces.
Under federal law, companies with fewer than 50 employees are not required to offer health insurance to their employees. Larger companies may face potential penalties in the coming years if they fail to offer a specified level of health insurance to their employees, but it remains to be seen whether that provision currently set to start next year will ever go into effect.
To be certain, it’s a complicated issue to address. On one hand, Obamacare creates an opportunity for smaller companies to shed a costly, unpredictable line item on their balance sheets. On the other hand, a competitive benefits package can be a great recruiting tool for luring the best talent. For these reasons, we recommend that ambulatory surgery centers complete the following four steps before dropping a health insurance plan:
Don’t panic: Cancelling a health insurance plan can have long-term implications for a company, so it’s best to approach it with a clear head. Meet with your insurance broker to ensure you’re making an informed decision and then consider all of the options available. You may be surprised what you learn.
Evaluate your current plan: Take a full inventory of what your plan offers, its advantages and disadvantages and what your workforce may be willing to live without. Conducting a survey of your employees about the current offering, too, can provide valuable insights and help your decision-making process. Again, you may be surprised what you learn.
Assess alternatives: Benefits providers have developed a variety of innovative, non-traditional insurance offerings in recent years that meet new ACA requirements, while limiting your risk and improving coverage for your employees. For example, defined contribution health insurance products that cap companies’ costs at set annual limits have proliferated since the ACA was enacted.
Keep your ear to the ground: By some estimates, Obamacare has undergone 42 changes since it went into law in 2010. And there’s likely more to come, which is why it’s important for ASC administrators to continually monitor updates to the new law, as well as the latest benefits, products and services that may help you manage your risks.
Please contact (708) 492-0519 for more information on managing your health care costs.