Health Care Reform – The Devil is in the Details

By now, everyone is aware that Health Care Reform has a variety of key provisions that are phased in over time.  Everywhere you look, someone has published a calendar or a timeline of when the key provisions kick in.  Every business owner has pretty much memorized this list.  So, is that all there is to it and as long as you or your broker stays on top of that list, you are good to go?  The answer is a resounding, “NO!”  In this case, no truer words were ever spoken than “the devil is in the details”.

First, many of the procedures and regulations have not been written.  There is much lobbying and debate that will go into these final implementation instructions that could contain nuances which may directly affect you, your employees and your business.  For example, are your plans eligible for “grandfathering” and even if so, does that make sense for your business?  Are the contributions and eligibility rules of your plans discriminatory? The list is seemingly endless and the penalties can be extreme.  Therefore, you need to ensure that you or someone you trust is taking a strategic look at your plans in light of compliance, cost containment, and providing competitive benefits to attract, take care of, and retain the best employees.

So, what’s a business owner to do?  Well, what you can’t do is neither hide your head in the sand nor assume that your broker is taking care of all of this for you.  You could get yourself educated and stay on top of the details for yourself, but that takes your focus off of your number one goal of running and growing your business.  So, we don’t recommend that approach.  Or, you could assume that your benefits broker is doing that for you.  We don’t recommend this approach either since many brokers are focused on the cost reduction piece but have no interest or expertise in the compliance arena.  Therefore, what we do recommend is that you ask your broker directly to ensure that someone is tracking and analyzing the ever-updating world of Heath Care Reform and using that knowledge to ensure that your plans are in compliance, containing costs, and providing the level of benefits you need to take care of your staff, as well as attract and retain the best.

At YPP, we are doing this work on behalf of our clients and are making changes to our plans and plan offerings accordingly. And, we’ve even hired outside counsel with a specialty in the Heath Care Reform legislation and regulations to ensure we are on top of everything for our clients. So, if you aren’t sure if you are “good to go” with Health Care Reform – don’t forget that the penalties for missing a detail can be stiff – feel free to give us a call.

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