Focus on Healthcare for Employers

January 2013

HR Innovation Winter 2012/2013

Download: Focus on Healthcare for Employers

HR Innovation offers advanced thinking about the challenges that should be uppermost on the minds and agendas of organizations and their Human Resources (HR) leaders.

Never before have employee health benefits packages presented greater challenges and opportunities. As the dust clears on the implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers face a slew of choices that will determine their immediate next steps as well as their long term role in providing affordable, accessible, quality care for their employees.

Perhaps the most critical of these choices will be defining what their role relative to employee healthcare should be. 

Video: Affordable Care Act: How
will US companies respond?

At the highest level, employers can choose to: play (offer affordable minimum essential health benefits), pay (remit penalties to the IRS or provide a lump sum for employees to buy coverage through insurance exchanges set up under the ACA), or join a multiemployer exchange. Whichever strategy they pursue, certain nuances and considerations will be critical in helping employers execute and optimize their path forward.

In this issue of HR Innovation, we’ll bring to light where the opportunities and obstacles might lie post-health reform and where different paths might lead. We will also explore initiatives for "bending the cost curve" — from getting the most value from your pharmacy benefits manager to reducing the cost generated by the 5% of employees who spend the most on healthcare.

You can read more in these articles:

  • The impact of health reform on employers — It depends.
  • Five things to know about the evolving landscape of pharmacy benefit administration.
  • Have you misdiagnosed the causes of increasing health benefit costs?
  • Play, pay, or exchange: The new healthcare benefits environment.

Pre-election uncertainty has yielded way to the imperative to adjust to healthcare reform realities and implications. ACA is not the end but rather the first step in defining a new post-reform reality for healthcare. Now is the time to rethink, reposition and execute a fresh approach to healthcare benefits in the context of your company's total rewards philosophy to achieve a more sustainable and effective result for both your organization and your employees.

Scott Olsen
US Leader, Human Resource Services

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