Employers Need to Act Now in Wake of Supreme Court Decision

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Schrader and Associates and JA Benefits outline an action plan for employers following the ACA ruling

"We’re trying to grab employers by the shoulders and tell them, ‘Get to work. You’ve got deadlines.’”

Employers will benefit from taking immediate steps to address the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (ACA), said Doug Johnson of JA Benefits, LLC, an Indiana-based benefits provider, and Christopher Schrader of Schrader and Associates, an HR services company. Thursday’s historic Supreme Court ruling upholding the ACA in Florida, et. al. v. Health and Human Services, et. al., leaves employers to face challenging new health care responsibilities that are best met through proactive strategies, they said.

Many employers delayed decisions on their health plans pending the outcome of the Supreme Court ruling, said Johnson, JA Benefits president. “One of the biggest questions employers now face will be whether to continue their health care plans, and at what level,” he said. “New eligibilities for private as well as state and federally-sponsored insurance exchanges will radically reformulate this decision-making process.”

Johnson recommended that employers initiate those calculations immediately in order to determine ways to budget for the future while addressing the needs of employees. Prices for individual insurance prices are likely to skyrocket, he said, due to the ACA’s provisions against eligibility restrictions. To assess the costs of employer health care plans under ACA, JA Benefits offers a proprietary Employer Impact Study that processes salary and coverage data with respect to the new legislation.

“Employers are going to require that type of rigorous data analysis to determine the best strategy going forward,” said Johnson.

The ruling also puts pressure on employers to provide immediate and intensive HR services, said Schrader, president of Schrader and Associates. The Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) provision of the act goes into effect this September, requiring standardized informational tools on health care benefits for all employees.
“Many employers expected the ACA to be overturned, so they didn’t take action on this looming deadline,” said Schrader. “Now they have to put together a very complex document in a short amount of time. They are also going to be slammed with questions from their employees trying to make sense of this new documentation. That’s an HR challenge that companies need to address right now.”

New W-2 reporting provisions will go into effect next year, posing another pressing challenge to human resources. Under the ACA, employer-sponsored health benefits coverage will be reported alongside income on the Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement.

“This is a category of information employers have never had to report to the government, or really share in any way publicly,” said Schrader. “It’s an unprecedented policy change that places a significant burden on employers.”

Though many policy questions remain to be answered about the implementation of the ACA, Johnson and Schrader agreed that Thursday’s ruling reflects an irreversibly changed employer health care landscape.

“Make no mistake, whether we’re talking about a tax or a mandate, implementation is going full speed ahead,” said Schrader. “We’re trying to grab employers by the shoulders and tell them, ‘Get to work. You’ve got deadlines.’”

Johnson and Schrader are available to comment further on the implications of the ACA ruling for employers. Contact information is listed below.

About JA Benefits, LLC
JA Benefits, LLC (http://www.jabenefits.com) provides the full range of employee health, wellness, and retirement benefit services and technology products to clients of all sizes. Formed in 1988, JA Benefits has grown to become one of the largest Independent benefit consulting firms in the Midwest. Based in Bedford, Indiana, its associates serve clients across the U.S.

Contact:
Douglas Johnson, President
JA Benefits, LLC
doug.johnson(at)jabenefits(dot)com
800.663.5960, 515

About Schrader and Associates

Schrader and Associates, LLC (http://www.cschraderandassociates.com) provides the full range of HR services to small- and medium-size businesses. Based in Bloomington, Indiana, its associates work with clients across the U.S. and on global-level assignments.

Contact:
Christopher Schrader, SPHR, President
Schrader and Associates, LLC
Phone: (812) 322-0380
Chris(at)cschraderandassociates(dot)com

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