Health care is perhaps the most expensive benefit provided at the workplace. Employer costs are skyrocketing, and although the healthcare system is changing, more emphasis will be placed on an employee’s selection of benefits and treatment. When multiple plans are offered, selecting an option from among the choices continues to be difficult. In addition, when other health benefits such as group long term care insurance or HSAs are available at the workplace, employees are often unaware that these benefits exist and may represent a planning opportunity.
Understanding health care and its costs both from both a personal and a financial perspective is time consuming for most individuals. Many of the components of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are effective in 2014, so that the impact on employer sponsored health benefits, and therefore on employees, may be in the future. Failing to address these issues can result in distraction from an employee’s day-to-day responsibilities and increased absenteeism. It remains critical for employers to incorporate health care planning and education into a benefit program so that employees can manage health care expenses and family care more efficiently.
A variety of factors impact the kind of health care planning services an employer may offer. These include:
- Employee Demographics
The deliver and depth of health care planning will depend upon employee location and sophistication. Health insurance varies state-by-state and it is likely that the differences will widen thereby obligating employers to assess their health care offering.
- Benefit Programs
Where there are multiple health insurance plans, HSAs and long term care insurance as part of an existing benefit program, these and other programs can be incorporated into a health care education series. Adding a component that speaks to the influence of reform on employee benefits can enable employees to make appropriate benefit selections.
- Financial Planning
If financial planning is available at the workplace, health care services can be added to a cash flow analysis.
- Navigating the Health Care System
One of the biggest challenges individuals face is an understanding the health care system. The current health care system is, and always has been a mystery to most. Undoubtedly health care will continue to become more complex as the uncertainly surrounding the future of health care reform grows. Understanding the physician assessment process, claims submissions in addition to a family wellness routine will continue to be a both demanding and frustrating task. Most health care is state regulated, and will become even more so in 2014. Employees need to be familiar with specific state health care directives so that the appropriate health care can be selected.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act can alter an employer’s health care programs for employees. With the creation of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, temporary reinsurance for early retirees at age 55, the elimination of a tax deduction for a post retirement drug plan and other modifications, the menu of health care benefits could change drastically.
EAB HealthWorks can assist you in reviewing possible alternatives and preparing employee communications to eliminate the confusion surrounding health care reform.
>> Contact us to learn more about what EAB HealthWorks has to offer and how our seminar series may benefit your clients and employees.