As open-enrollment season approaches, HR professionals have a few choices when it comes to relaying information about health care reform to employees, who will be hearing about the new government-run insurance exchanges that open for business in October 2013, complete with (for many) federally subsidized coverage.
Health Care Reform
Posts Tagged Health Care Reform
U.S. employers were again surprised by another unexpected suspension of a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA) when, on Sept. 11, 2013, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced there will be no penalty imposed on employers that fail to distribute to workers a notice about available coverage under state- and federal-government-run health insurance exchanges (collectively referred to by the government as the "health insurance marketplace"), scheduled to launch in October 2013.
A large number of American workers remain unaware of, confused about and unprepared for looming changes to their benefits coverage, according to the 2013 Open Enrollment Survey of 2,001 U.S. consumers, conducted in August 2013 for Aflac, a provider of voluntary insurance benefits.
The cost of providing employee health care benefits at the largest U.S. employers is projected to increase 7 percent in 2014, according to survey results released Aug. 28, 2013, by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), a nonprofit association of more than 265 large U.S. companies.
In response, the biggest corporations are continuing their shift to high-deductible consumer-directed plans and making other benefit design changes.
On Sept. 5, 2013, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued two proposed rules intended to streamline the information-reporting requirements for certain employers and insurers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA).
As more American employers turn to high-deductible health plans to reign in escalating health care expenses, many are offering health savings accounts (HSAs) in an effort to encourage workers to make cost-conscious health care decisions. But according to a recent survey by financial services firm Fidelity Investments, two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans who make household health-benefit decisions simply do not understand how an HSA works.
New penalties for fully insured plans that favor highly compensated employees
Although employers can be forgiven for focusing on the more pressing elements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that take effect in January 2014, there is another provision of the law that is not yet getting much attention—and it should.
On May 29, 2013, the U.S.
Employers with employees who may seek coverage through a public exchange should become familiar with the applications and the information they will need to provide as part of the Employer Coverage Tool.
Many employers are making changes to their health plans as a result of health care reform coverage mandates, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ 2013 Employer-Sponsored Health Care: ACA’s Impact report.
Key findings from the survey of more than 950 U.S.-based employee benefits professionals include:
To control health care expenses, U.S. businesses are continuing to switch to health plans that shift a greater share of costs to employees. According to benefit provider Aflac's 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report, published in April, more than half (53 percent) of employers have implemented a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) over the past three years—a trend that shows no sign of slowing.
On March 11, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a final rule that will enable plan sponsors and insurers to calculate their liability under the transitional reinsurance fee provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
Large U.S. employers—those with at least 1,000 workers—remain committed to providing active employees with health care benefits. But they are taking more aggressive actions to improve health care delivery and manage rising costs, according to a nationwide survey by consultancy Towers Watson and the nonprofit National Business Group on Health (NBGH).
While employers have been focused on making sure that their health care plans meet the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), new interim whistle-blower provisions under that law recently went into effect.
Immigration reform, the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and legislation calling for the raising of the minimum wage are some of the pressing public-policy issues HR professionals should be keeping track of in 2013, said Michael P. Aitken, pictured above, vice president of government affairs for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).