Now that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka health care reform, leaves the law pretty much intact, employers need to focus on moving ahead to comply with the law.
That does not mean employers will be happy about it. A survey of 1,122 employers conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans found that only one-third of private sector were satisfied with the Court's decision. Public sector employers (59%) were much more likely to be satisfied with the ruling. Overall, 46% felt the best possible outcome for their organizations would have been having the entire PPACA law overturned, while 41% said the best decision was the law being upheld and 12% would have liked to have seen the individual mandate overturned with the remainder of the law intact.
It seems that employers in states that have already implemented health care exchanges tend to be more satisfied with the Supreme Court's decision (47% to 35% of employers in states that haven't implemented exchanges), tend to be more prepared to comply with current provisions (47% to 36%) and tend to be more likely to continue coverage in 2014 (56% to 42%).
Moreover, 74% of the employers surveyed said that the upcoming elections in the fall will impact their willingness to make health care decisions. Nevertheless, 77% of the employers surveyed said that they definitely will or are very likely to continue to provide coverage in 2014 when they must make the play-or-pay decision to continue to offer required minimum coverage or pay a penalty.
But no matter how they feel about the ruling, employers must still comply with the law's requirements. For example, over the next 18 months, employers must:
- begin to include the dollar value of health benefit coverage on employees' Forms W-2 for the 2012 calendar year
- make sure employees receive any applicable rebates from insured plans that have not certain met the medical loss ratio (MLR) requirements, limit flexible spending accounts to $2,500
- pay a fee of $1.00 per participant to fund comparative effectiveness research that focuses on providing evidence to allow individuals to compare the effectiveness, benefits and harms of different treatment options
- provide summaries of benefits and coverage using specific templates for plan years that begin on and after September 23 (sample templates are available online
- and begin higher Medicare withholding on certain highly compensated individuals (in general, those who earn $200,000 or more) on January 1, 2013.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute has released a report discussing how the major player in health care, including employers providing health benefits will be impacted by the PPACA going forward. The report includes timelines and to-do lists for employers. It also discusses how the health care marketplace could change in the coming years as new players enter and existing players look for ways to improve care, care delivery and quality, while payers (including employers) look for ways to focus payment on health outcomes rather than fee-for-service.