Few industries have been in more flux over the past several years than health care. The enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 sent a cascade of changes through the country that have affected businesses of all sizes, but particularly medium-sized companies.
Five years down the road, some organizations are still struggling to keep up with the changes to health care regulations and policy. It can be tricky for entrepreneurs and small-business owners to grasp the extent of the changes and keep up with new regulations to remain in compliance. Here’s a brief overview of how some things are shaking up.
Stability, for now
The good news for employers and employees alike is that there aren’t too many changes expected to occur in coverage during the upcoming enrollment period. Despite significant flux last year in terms of the plans available, this year little is expected to change in the plans themselves. Rather, what employees can expect to be different is the number and variety of tools available for enrollment, as well as plan and wellness tracking.
Specifically, the rise of telehealth services is having a significant impact on the way that employees interact with their health plans. The integration of technology with employer-sponsored health plans is providing workers with greater autonomy in managing their health plans and decision-making, but also places a proportionate level of increased responsibility on them as well.
Big changes down the road
In many ways, this year’s plan stability can be seen as something of a calm before the storm that is on the horizon a few years down the road. Perhaps the biggest example of this is the upcoming Cadillac Tax, scheduled to go into effect in 2018.
This will impose a 40 percent non-deductible excise tax on employer-sponsored health coverage that provides excessive health benefits, defined by spending that crosses a predetermined threshold. According to Cigna, the purpose of this upcoming tax is to encourage employers to control their health care spending, as well as to help offset the national cost of implementing additional ACA-related policy changes.
The excise tax is perhaps the most significant event that employers should prepare for. Even small-business owners can get a leg up on the changing legislation by working closely with PEO companies. These licensed benefits experts can offer high-value guidance and support throughout the process of changing regulations.