Friday, August 30, 2013

"But That's Not Fair"

As the first deadline of the new health care law comes into effect October 1, 2013, I am working diligently to be sure that any group or business with employee knows what will be expected of them starting then and moving forward regarding expectations with the law. What I am finding is kind of shocking and almost a painful sort of way.

The example I am sharing here comes on the tail of a call to a client to be sure they had their pieces all in a row for full compliance on getting the exchange notices delivered to all their employees. These notices inform the person what the exchange is and a process they will follow to see what may be available to them for health insurance under the new law. That sounds pretty simple...right? Of the 20 or more employers I contacted via email and/or called, those who responded or took my call had little to no idea what I was even talking about. Please keep in mind that these were people and places that I have been discussing this stuff to through things like email blasts, direct messages and even face-to-face meetings for months. Once I am finished shaking my head and wondering what the wait was all about, I did come to realize tow things:

1 - It doesn't fit within the list of important things to-do in their daily business processes. To those who AMEN that, my warning is very simple...that will cost you. Delaying, putting it off, pleading ignorance, etc. will not stop the Department of Labor and/or the IRS from expecting you to have complied with the law. PERIOD! Also, if you feel you can just wait and last minute this stuff, good luck. The biggest reason I have been so diligent in communicating is so that there is some groundwork already being put out there so you can get it handled in a timely and proficient manner. This is just the FIRST part. As the months pass, more will be expected and everyone needs to be on the train going the same direction ready to make the appropriate and timely stops along the way so you and your company and your people don't pay a hefty price (figuratively and literally).

2 - I didn't know that. Let's forget the fact that my weekly email blasts focusing on one point about health care reform have been read by hundreds of people every week. Let's forget the countless articles and webinars and seminars being offered to help people to be ready and compliant. Let's even throw out all the media coverage that has been so prevalent in the last year on health care reform and the changes it will make and cause (and have already caused). I still get people who say "I didn't know". I feel like I know why and it boils down to the "It doesn't apply to me" or "It's not that big of a deal" or something along the lines of dismissal and complacency.
My most recent conversation was with a benefits administrator, They had already gotten the exchange notice out and were in total compliance there (a first in all my conversations...YEA!) but then we started to talk about the notices and the affordability of their plan they current have. I calculated their plan based on the lowest paid full-time employee and it came out to 11% for the premiums the employee would have to pay versus their annual gross salary. The mandate for affordability is 9.5%. They asked me what that meant and I basically said that if their plan did not meet the mandated guidelines on coverage and/or affordability, then a large fine per person would be in their future. They had no idea and what they said next made me laugh. They basically said, "That's not fair". How many mouths have had to utter that phrase about health care reform since the day it was signed? How many, once they say it now, suddenly get what this entire process is and will potentially do to businesses and their employees.

THAT is why I do what I do. My process and procedure in the last few months has been to do very little except get people informed and remind them that this is the law and that it's here. I also want to help everyone come up with solutions. Health care reform does not have to be like a pair of least not if you want to explore good and affordable options. I am happy to talk about those options with anyone who reaches out to me after reading this. Contact me.

I try to always be a phone call, text (205-370-8453) or an email ( away.