Five Factors You Need to Consider About Obamacare
by Lynna Peterson
As an HR professional, you know the importance of understanding how Obamacare will affect your company and its employees. Complying with the requirements of Obamacare requires you to assess the cost and implications of the different types of coverage options, as well as how it will affect your workforce.
If your workforce is healthy, they are less likely to use their benefits, which can result in savings for both your company and the employee.
Take a look at some factors that can help you make solid decisions:
Health Improvement Initiatives. While Obamacare may increase costs to employers and employees, one of the benefits of extending healthcare benefits to workers is to encourage employee health. If your workforce is healthy, they are less likely to use their benefits, which can result in savings for both your company and the employee.
Hourly Employees. Obamacare requires companies with 50 or more employees to provide coverage to all workers who work 30 hours or more per week. You may be considering how to schedule workers to keep as many under that 30-hour limit so that you are not required to extend benefits. You may also be looking for lower cost plans so that you can cover more employees. You will need to consider strategies and incentives that will meet this requirement, but will not affect recruitment or retention of your workforce.
Benefits Plan Design. Look carefully at all options of the possible benefit plans. You may be inclined to find less expensive plans so that you can offer benefits to more employees. However, this can make you less attractive as an employer. You may also experience higher turnover rates, causing you to actually lose money. Consider consumer directed health plans that provide employee-provided basic coverage, with the option of allowing employees to purchase additional coverage according to their needs
Public versus Private Exchange. You may be considering simply ending any benefits coverage, requiring your employees to enter the public exchange. This puts the burden back on the employee and can create retention and recruitment problems. Another choice is the private exchange option, where you will decide how much you will contribute toward the benefit plan, and the employee can then choose a plan that best suits them, and will pay the cost difference, if any.
Dependent Coverage. Under Obamacare, coverage for dependents can be extended until age 26. Previously, coverage did not extend past age 18, unless the child was a full time student. If you offer ACA-compliant coverage, dependents may no longer be eligible for public subsidized cover. To avoid any confusion, make sure to educate your employees about all coverage options and costs.
With all of this in mind, you should be well equipped to make sound decisions that will benefit both your company and your employees.
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