Preparing for the Health Care Reform Changes

Vol. 11 No. 9

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A recent study by Aflac reveals that Americans aren’t prepared for the Health Care Reforms created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As many organizations and companies are choosing consumer-driven health plans, and the responsibility for health decisions requires more patient accountability, workers are being put at risk of making costly mistakes without a financial back-up plan.

The online survey registered 1,900 responses from benefit decision-makers and 5,200 responses from U.S. workers. Among the findings, Research Now (the firm that conducted the study for Aflac) reported an astonishing 74% of the workforce had never heard the phase, “consumer-driven health care,” and 77% of the workforce had very little or no knowledge about federal and state health care exchanges.

Hopefully, at this point you’re prepared for the coming changes and are not part of the majority the Aflac study reported. The first deadline is almost here—July 31. If your school offers health insurance, you must pay an annual fee of $1 for each of the average number of folks covered in 2012. This money will fund grants for research into the effectiveness of medical treatments. (This fee will cease in 2018.)

The next big deadline is October 1, 2013. Right as your new school year is getting started, you’ll be responsible for educating your faculty and staff about the insurance exchanges. You must inform your employees whether you offer coverage or not. You’re responsible for providing contact information for the exchanges as well as a description of the services provided by the exchanges. It is also your responsibility to inform your faculty and staff that they may be eligible for a subsidy if they buy a plan in the exchange. You can chose to send this information by mail or via e-mail, but it must be sent to all full-time and part-time employees by the deadline.

Rules on employer interactions with the exchanges are expected to be made clear this summer. There remains uncertainty whether a state exchange will verify the employer coverage information directly, and regarding what, if any, additional information employers must provide. As of right now, The Department of Labor has created a model of notices that can be used to help educate your employees. This will help you prepare for your communications this fall.

We encourage you to stay connected to information as it continues to be defined.

Additional ISM articles of interest
Private School News Vol. 11 No. 4 Health Care Reform 2013-2014
ISM Monthly Update for Human Resource Managers Vol. 11 No. 9 Health Care Reform, Exchanges, and School Culture
ISM Monthly Update for Risk Managers Vol. 3 No. 4 Understanding The Affordable Care Act (ACA)
ISM Monthly Update for Human Resource Managers Vol .8 No. 6 Health Care Reform Is Uncertain—But the Value of Annual Benefits Statements Is Well-Known

Sources
Phoenix Business Journal

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