New Healthcare Bill Aids Businesses, But Hurts Workforce

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Jul 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights

As you look at your own responsibilities to your employees in light of the new healthcare bill, it is important that you understand all that it entails. Equally important is the impact it will have on your whole team.  
It will help you better manage everyone's questions, concerns and expectations if you learn as much as you can about this new bill as soon as possible. Since it is the second time in about five years there has been major healthcare upheaval, you can expect workers and employers to feel uncertain and uneasy about the changes.   

The New Healthcare Bill Introduction Will Call On HR Leaders' Best Practices and Diplomacy 

Unveiled on March 8, 2017 and narrowly passed on May 4, 2017 by the U.S. House of Representatives, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is set to repeal key portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through the budget reconciliation process, reports the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).  

The New York Times suggests that these changes to our national healthcare insurance may create a new list of winners and losers. And this is the point where your diplomacy will, once again, need to rise to the occasion when it comes to letting the respective parties know—as gently as possible—the category under which they fall.  

As you see, your use of best practices regarding healthcare benefits, along with your diplomacy, will help your team—from top to bottom—adjust to the changes better.  

How Does the American Health Care Act Affect Businesses?  

Along with high-income earners and those who do not wish to buy insurance, employers are among those who will appreciate the ACHA the most, according to The New York Times. Businesses, especially those with 50 or more full-time employees, will no longer be subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate. The potential alteration to the ACA—as long as the AHCA ultimately becomes a law in its current form—means that employers will not be required to provide Minimal Essential Coverage (MEC) for full-time employees or the part-time equivalent.  

The removal of this mandate is good news for employers who were forced, via tax penalty under the ACA, to pay-to-play, notes a Washington D.C. employee benefits attorney.  

The relief that the removal of this mandate will provide to business owners may create a hiring renaissance among those who were struggling to comply with the mandate for all of their employees. This newfound freedom may allow employers to purchase plans that work within their budget, or they may choose not to provide healthcare coverage at all.  

How Does the American Health Care Act Affect the Workforce?  

The same aspect of the ACHA that benefits employers may not—on paper—offer as upbeat an outlook for employees. Without the Employer Mandate in place, the new healthcare bill may cause 23 million Americans to lose their healthcare coverage by 2026, per Forbes. While some of those uninsured people may include members of the workforce, not all will. The Atlantic released a report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that anticipates that the mandate may translate to 2 million fewer people getting their insurance through work by 2020.  

The AHCA has replaced the subsidies of the ACA with tax credits that fall between $2,000 and $4,000, scaled by age and not income, according to Epstein, Becker and Green, allowing workers making up to $75,000 to buy private insurance, so there is an assisting option in case employers opt out of providing healthcare insurance for workers. With the increase from the current subsidy cut-off $48,000 to the AHCA $75,000 tax credit cut-off, a greater range of workers may be able to afford to shop for insurance for themselves.  

The Overall Healthcare Insurance Landscape Under the AHCA 

While the repeal of several key components of the Affordable Care Act are likely to cause some initial stress and upset, it does provide employers greater freedom without leaving employees without any assistance in finding alternative options. Since employers no longer need to adhere to specific tax penalties and have fewer imposed costs, they may opt to expand their workforce by hiring temporary employees from trusted employment agencies.  

Do You Need Help Preparing for the Implementation of the AHCA?  

At ICS, we understand the stress that healthcare turbulence over the past several years can place on an organization. Our experienced team of staffing professionals can help you sort through the healthcare bill changes, and we might even be able to help you find a compliance and legal professional in the healthcare insurance industry who can come aboard and help ease you through the transition.  

We would love to talk to you about your needs, so contact us and let us know if you have any questions about the AHCA or anything else.  
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