Tuesday, February 18, 2014
The Affordable Care Act has been in place since October 1, 2013. When it was first opened up the majority of people were still rather clueless as to what it meant and what they needed to do. Even heading into the new year there were some who still didn't know there would be a tax penalty for not having some sort of ACA compliant health insurance. Health care reform is confusing to many, irritating to others, and many are still walking around uninsured as before because they just don't know where to turn. Business owners and the people in charge of benefits are much the same way. I will be directing my statements to them in the remainder of this piece, but understand that as of today, not only must decisions be made but options must be made available. I hope to do some of that here.
Many business owners around where I live feel trapped. In Alabama, we are essentially a one carrier state and all options seem to lead to that particular carrier. A couple have tried to get in and make some waves, but on a very limited basis, when it comes to the public exchange set up here. Many business owners feel handcuffed to the only option they are aware of. I'm here to tell all of them, that there are options.
Before I get into the top 3 options I have seen and helped to implement, I have to say to anyone reading this who feels like they only have the one option...stop thinking that way. Forget the one carrier for a second. Forget what you've always known and maybe even grown up with and expand your mind to options that can help you and your business keep solid benefits in place and keep them affordable. Be open to the possibilities.
Now, on to my top 3 options:
1 - Get high.
We do it with much of the insurance we select. Car, home, etc. We pick the plan that allows us to pay the smallest premium now and do our best to avoid the risk and thereby save us money in the long run. In the past, deductibles of $500 - $1500 have been the norm. In this option, deductibles can get up there to the $5000 - $10,000 variety.
2 - Think outside the card. Another options that have surfaced are not really new. Things like HSAs and HRAs have been around for some time. Many people in this are of the country don't look at because it takes some thinking and an open mind to wrap your noggin around the concept of setting money aside for a rainy day medical situation.
3 - Throw everyone to the sharks. OK, that sounds more harsh than it is really, but many companies have no choice (or feel they don't). It's either keep benefits or start firing people. This option tells your people that you are not involving yourself or your company in health insurance options and that it's up to them to go and get it on their own. It saves the company time, money, and administrative stuff that goes along with having health insurance.
I hope this insight has been helpful. Everything has changed and is still changing as of today. Nothing in the benefits market is staying still and I'm doing my best to stay on top of it all. If you need some guidance as an individual or as a company, that's what I do. The good news is that all this reform has not stopped new companies from opening their doors. I'm meeting with a brand new company President this week and I'm excited about what we can build for them and their people from the ground up.
Posted by Gene Ramsay at 7:48 AM