PPACA Has Come and Gone. Now What?

Posted by Matt Schwartz on Mon, Dec 2, 2013 @ 15:12 PM

Goodbye PPACA - Hello FutureWith the PPACA changes have come a fundamental shift at many companies in the relationship between employers and employees around the issue of healthcare. Now that many companies are responsible for funding healthcare costs for their own employees, it is becoming more important than ever to consider implementing some new programs that will optimize the situation by encouraging employees to pay more attention to healthcare measures.

Two possible methods of doing this are instituting an employee wellness program and switching to a consumer directed health plan (CDHP) to handle medical costs.

Employee Wellness Programs

Employers everywhere have been showing concern for the health and wellbeing of their workers all along. Yet if an employee wellness program has not already been implemented at your company, you might want to try to redirect the increased attention brought toward healthcare by PPACA toward general employee wellness now that many PPACA provisions are ready to go into effect.

How can you organize a company-wide employee wellness program? A wellness program is simply a concerted effort on your part to foster good health among members of your staff. Such a program could be composed of a variety of different initiatives, such as health seminars, staff training, or assistance with health improvement measures such as quitting smoking or starting an exercise program.

If your employee wellness program takes off, you will not only see the success through the healthiness of your work force. You will most likely see the success in your bottom line, as well, as healthcare costs go down and employees are able to work more productively and happily.

Consumer-Directed Health Plans

This type of health plan has been gaining popularity in recent years, and it is now one of the most common types of employer-sponsored health plans. The advantages of consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) stem from the fact that they allow employees to save money by paying lower premiums. This is made up for through high deductibles that employees must pay in the event that they need medical care.

According to a recent Health Care Survey conducted by Aon Hewitt, about 56 percent of employers are now offering consumer-directed health plans as an option to their employees. Meanwhile, many other companies are considering either adding consumer-directed health plans to their health benefit offerings or completely switching over to this form of employer-sponsored health insurance.

Many employees prefer this type of health plan because of the savings they enjoy by paying lower premiums. At the same time, employers subsidize premiums and assist in healthcare costs at their company through this type of plan. In fact, some 44 percent of employers offering consumer-directed health plans actually subsidize premiums at a higher rate than those offering other types of plans.

Employee wellness programs and consumer-directed health plans could greatly benefit healthcare practices at many companies. These types of programs should be taken into consideration by companies looking to put some extra effort into accommodating the new shift towards greater employer involvement in healthcare measures and greater focus on health and wellbeing in the workplace.

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Topics: Affordable Care Act, Employee Benefits, Employee Engagement, Self-Funded Medical