Check out what employers consider the top business concerns for 2014.
It’s clear the health care uproar is still making waves across the nation. A recent article on BusinessWeek.com says business owners are now considering their health plan and insurance options for chronically ill workers.
A possible loophole in the Affordable Care Act — no one can be turned away from individual plans — means employers can drop employees from company plans and more or less guarantee they will be able to afford individual health care.
“Some mid-sized companies that self-insure — that is, they pay the cost of employees’ medical claims directly — are at least talking about the idea,” says the article.
Discussion among business owners has prompted national concern for dropped coverage for employees, however, this may border on illegal if taken to extremes.
The article mentions “anti-dumping” provisions that were originally included in the ACA that “prohibited employers from pushing sick employees into high-risk insurance pools created to cover individuals with preexisting health conditions until exchange coverage became available this year.”
However, those provisions were not carried over into the exchange coverage. And this behavior could eventually muddy the waters of marketplaces if all the nation’s sickest employees are forced into marketplace coverage, which relies on premiums from “younger, healthier participants to help cover costs of older, sicker members.”
A recent survey by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce says health care will continue to be problematic in the New Year as laws are unfamiliar and employers are still learning the new regulations.
Most Wisconsin employers surveyed are generally optimistic about the economy in 2014, but top business concerns included slow economic recovery, health care, regulations, labor shortage and taxes.
The survey found that 93 percent of respondents currently offer employer-sponsored health insurance coverage to their employees and 87 percent of those said their costs will increase.
Respondents cited the Affordable Health Care Act as the main reason for rate increases. Of those surveyed, 54 percent said “ACA has had a negative impact on their employees.”
However, despite negative feelings about the law’s impact on employees and overall business, 87 percent of respondents said they don’t plan to reduce the number of full-time employees because of ACA.
I’m not seeing a light at the end of the health care tunnel. Saying there are still “some kinks to be worked out” would be the understatement of the year.
Health care continues to be a hot-button issue with employers. How have you handled the recent changes? Or how will you handle them in the next year?