Health Care Coverage for Health Care Companies?

Under the current health care reform and as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, many industries including health care companies, are undergoing a period of re-evaluation. They are analyzing the types of health care coverage they currently offer to determine if these will meet the new health care regulations. In some cases, the costs associated with continuing to provide coverage may increase. Some companies may determine that they are no longer able to continue to provide coverage and may drop this altogether. As benefits are an attractive incentive for staff, many companies are looking to find ways to reduce costs in other areas of their business. This provides them with the ability to continue to provide these benefits.

HR companies also have many new health care options available to them depending on the size of the company, such as state exchange coverage and enhanced tax credits. Companies are also choosing to compensate workers for engaging in wellness and preventative care to help further drive down costs of premiums for all workers. Other methods include improving access to lower cost prescription drugs, increasing staff contributions to benefit plans, and offering consumer driven health plans. Some major companies are considering contracting hospitals and service providers directly, to reduce the need for third party providers such as insurance firms.

The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to improve access to healthcare and certain penalties will be imposed if companies with 50 or more employees do not provide health care coverage after 2014. Full time employees are those which work 30 hours or more each week, or 130 hours over a month. HR departments must work closely with managers and employees to determine the cost of continuing to provide coverage including the consequences of dropping coverage, particularly its effects on the company’s ability to attract a quality workforce. There will also be additional requirements, such as changes to W2 reporting in which companies will be asked to report the aggregate cost of the employer’s contribution to health care coverage. HR departments are therefore being called upon to ensure that all existing administrative process are efficient, that data is quality assured, and that processes are flexible enough to account for future changes. To achieve this, companies are increasingly moving towards using cloud computing, which offers configurable software solutions. These allow for software and processes to be easily updated in accordance with changes, and are particularly good options for HR departments during this period in time.

Cloud computing and integrated HR applications automate and streamline HR processes offering HR staff the time to thoroughly research coverage options. It allows them to engage in more in depth analysis and decision making, to ensure companies make the informed decisions regarding their benefit choices.        

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