Health Care Reform: What Is on the Horizon?

Article excerpt

Now that most of you have made it through the first round of health care reform changes, it's time to start looking forward and preparing for what lies ahead.Although the next batch of small changes does not take effect until 2013, there are some significant provisions whose effective dates were delayed, which are likely to be taking effect over the next year or so as regulations are issued.Additionally, the core provisions in the health care reform law will all be taking effect in 2014, and these are real game changers that warrant adequate strategic planning.

The 2014 health care reform provisions are likely to revolutionize health insurance and employer health plans as we know them. Employers cannot afford to wait until 2013 to begin preparations; instead you should consider working with your benefits consultant now on the strategic planning process.

This strategic planning process will involve not just preparing to implement these upcoming changes, but even more importantly evaluating the impact these changes will have on your employees, your health plan, your budgets, etc.

Now is the perfect time to work with your benefits consultant and consider questions such as:

*Why do we offer health insurance coverage to our employees, and will those reasons change in 2014?

*What are the pros and cons of discontinuing health insurance coverage to our employees?

* How can we design our plan to limit our exposure to penalties under the pay or play mandate?

*Will we need to start offering health insurance to previously ineligible employees to avoid penalties under the pay or play mandate, and if so what are the pros and cons of doing this?

*What are the potential costs of health care reform and what plan design changes or other options exist to minimize those costs?

*What are the advantages and disadvantages of being self-funded versus fully-insured, and are there any other funding or design options we should be evaluating? …