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Healthcare Reform: Complex, Confusing and Potentially Costly
By David Straight

David StraightWhen it comes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or healthcare reform, do not believe everything you hear, especially on television.

As certified healthcare reform experts (through the National Association of Health Underwriters), my team at Benefits Network have studied the law in great detail including the many lengthy regulations that have recently been released by the Department of Health and Human Services. Even with our intense focus on our country's new healthcare platform, there are many legitimate questions that still must be addressed and regulations that have not yet been written. It's a moving target.

What I have noticed, to my dismay, is the media and other "so-called experts" in the field, relying on anecdotes they hear or read. Without verification, they pass the information on as though it is fact. This is a very scary proposition.

If you represent an employer, here are some things to consider:

  • Are you a small employer or a large employer? Common sense does not apply in answering this question. Employees working 30 hours or more are considered full-time. Part time and variable hour employee equivalents are part of the calculation. It's very complex. We've met with dozens of businesses with less than 50 full-time employees who are actually considered large employers and potentially subject to sizable penalties under the law
  • Are you thinking about reducing employee hours to avoid penalties? Don't make this a last minute decision. There is a look back period. If you are not taking proper action now, you may find yourself and your business in a bind later.

These are just two of many provisions that employers face that are far from simple. There are rules and potential penalties for individuals as well. I encourage you to find an advisor who has done the research and has proper legal and compliance resources readily available. Anything short of this could send you down a costly path.

David Straight is the President and CEO of Benefits Network, Inc., a leading insurance agency and consulting firm specializing in employee benefits, property & casualty insurance, and individual and Medicare products. For more information, call (724) 940-9400 or visit the website at www.benefitsnetwork.biz.

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