Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in a Main Line Society of Professional Women panel titled, “From the Oval Office to Your Office.” On the panel with Farah Jimenez, president and CEO of the People’s Emergency Center and Karen Dougherty Buchholz, VP administration at Comcast Corp., I was charged with giving my perspective on what businesses should be doing now to prepare for provisions of the Affordable Care Act which go into effect next year.
It’s a particularly relevant question. Real changes are taking place within the health care industry and employers need to prepare themselves for what the new legislations will mean in practice.
In my opinion, the first step for any business or individual is to become an educated consumer. Although the law is hundreds and hundreds of pages, there are many resources available that break down the basics into understandable pieces. In fact, UnitedHealthcare has a very comprehensive website - uhc.com/reform - offering videos, brochures and other information designed to help business owners and consumers learn about the changes.
It’s also a good idea for employers to reach out to their broker or consultant, well in advance of their 2014 plan renewal date, to discuss their specific group size and current health benefit package. The changes brought about by the law will compel employers to go through a rigorous analysis, assessing cost and potential impact on employee productivity, satisfaction, turnover and recruitment. It makes sense for them to start early. Learn everything they can about what the Affordable Care Act means to their business and take the time necessary to choose how best to handle it.
Change can be unsettling, but in the end, the best leaders use it as an opportunity for improvement. I challenge all business owners to make the most of this opportunity for their company!
|From left to right: Eileen Connelly Robbins, Sue Schick, Karen Dougherty Buchholtz, Renee Amoore, and Farah Jimenez|