Editor’s note: This article is one of a weekly series of four articles on the Affordable Care Act.
If we take the position that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is here to stay, we must then ask ourselves if we have the necessary tools, knowledge, and support to successfully comply with the law and to aggressively manage an evolving cost center. In other words, where do we go from here?
With the introduction of the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, the American health care system as we knew it was changed forever. No matter your excitement for, or aversion to this legislation, most agree that this is one of the largest changes to U.S. health care coverage since the introduction of Medicare in 1965.
As the definition of large groups will change in January 2016 from 100 to 50 full-time employees, the ACA regulations will quickly become a reality for hospitality professionals across the country. While other legislation continues to hang in the balance, such as the Department of Labor’s overtime requirements, ACA compliance is here and must be addressed.
Despite today’s group coverage increasing in complexity, there are ways to simplify the burden. Self-funding, for example, has long been used by large corporations to offer customized health solutions but is now an option for companies with as few as 25 employees. These products enable employers to exempt themselves from a variety of ACA requirements and costs (Fees that amount to 5% tax on your health plans plus the generous markup seen in less transparent fully insured plans) and to partner with a benefit provider who emphasizes enhanced health and payments for claims limited to the amount of health care costs incurred-with no mark up.
Solutions such as these are available, and working with companies that understand your challenges and objectives should maximize the probability of achieving a healthier bottom line, government compliance, and solid health care options for your associates. —Fred W. Malek
Fred Malek is the CEO of Hospitality Benefits LLC, a health care market place exclusively built for the hospitality sector.
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