I am often asked by HR professionals, CEO's, CFO's, Executive Directors, etc. the following question – “what should I be telling my employees about the Affordable Care Act (ACA)”? Between the 2,700 pages of the actual law, and the thousands of pages of regulations and guidance released to date, the question is very relevant, and extremely important. While I firmly believe folks occupying roles with the aforementioned titles should receive a thorough initial overview of the ACA, and ongoing guidance and updates; rank and file employees need only get the absolute critical aspects. So you might ask – “what are the critical aspects”? My list of employee centric, critical aspects is based on the following questions/criteria…
Since the “birth” of so called Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHP) in the mid 90;s, opponents have argued that CDHP;s merely shift health care related costs from employer to employee. This is simply not the case, and health insurer/administrator Cigna's eighth annual “Choice Fund Experience Study” offers quite the opposing view, buttressed by empirically derived facts. Over the course of CDHPs evolution, I have learned a great deal from many of the pioneers and trailblazers of CDH, including the “father of HSAs” (John Goodman), and the “Godmother of CDH” (Regina Herzlinger). And studies like Cignas provide sound data and efficacy to once again advance the fact that CDH LOWERS HEATH CARE COSTS without sacrificing care or coverage!
Within just the past decade or so, Workplace Wellness has become an industry within an industry. In fact, as a benefits broker/consultant, I get as many calls from Wellness program vendors as I do from insurance companies, seeking new client opportunities. Recently I came upon an article that made some interesting points relative to Workplace Wellness programs, and the potential outlay of employer dollars in the interest of reducing health care related claims costs. Here are some thoughts for readers and stakeholders to ponder:
On average, U.S. citizens consume about 2,700 calories per day.
Healthy food costs significantly more than unhealthy food.
Despite numerous reports of the “closing” of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) public health insurance exchanges/marketplaces on March 31, 2014, THEY'RE ACTUALLY STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS! Media reports stating that “the exchanges are closed” are simply inaccurate. Much like group health insurance plans, ACA marketplace/exchange plans have two (2) enrollment periods:
Open Enrollment – which ran from 10/1/13 – 3/31/14 in the inaugural year of the launching of the public marketplaces / exchanges. IMPORTANT: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on March 26, 2014 that it would extend the open enrollment deadline for consumers…