By William Rusteberg
With the recent decision by the Obama administration to postpone full implementation of ACA until 2015, many employers are delighted, yet confused. Will there be other surprises between now and 2015? Will the mid-term elections in 2014 have any impact?
Congress is already toying with changes. For example, there is bipartisan support brewing to change the definition of full-time employees from 30 hours to 40 hours per week. There are thoughts of increasing the employer mandate from groups of 50 or more employees to 100 or more.
Some employers, overly eager to react to ACA, have prematurely made changes to their health plans. For example, “Skinny Plans” are the rage these days with groups with low wage employees. Going from a mini-med plan to “Preventive Care Plan” with a few bells and whistles increases liability. Those employers who have implemented these plans are now stuck with them for up to two years or more. Buyer remorse must be awful. (http://blog.riskmanagers.us/?p=11639 )
Plan Sponsors would be wise to be cautious, yet proactive. Efforts in self-funding with an eye towards saving money through avoidance of premium taxes, some state and federal mandates, and direct provider contracting should continue at full steam.