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Strategies for HCM Professionals

‘Twas the night before election, when all through the House (and Senate)

Affordable Care ActBy Howard Tarnoff, SVP of XOXO Innovation & Programs, Ceridian

I’d like to say “not a creature was stirring …,” but quite the opposite is true. Now that the political season is in full swing and the candidates have not fully explained themselves, all kinds of creatures are stirring. Analysts, pundits, and politicos are starting to ask questions. And employers and employees are beginning to voice their own considerations, hopes, suspicions and fears … particularly when it comes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and some of its provisions (e.g., the employer mandate). In fact, ‘tis the season when thoughtful employers are reading tea leaves and trying to come up with their own answers to questions like:

What might employers be faced with if ACA is repealed?

What might the costs be to employers?

What might the impact be on employees?

And, for that matter, what will the impact be on insurers and providers?

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get a clear perspective on which direction health care reform is headed. Nearly everyone agrees health care needs reforming. Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump is on record saying that replacing the ACA will be an immediate initiative should he be elected, and even former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is not in favor of repealing ACA, is in favor of some reforms. But what kind of reforms are being considered and how will they impact employers and employees?

So while there is talk about ‘repeal and replace’ for the ACA, for the most part there is still some mystery on what would replace it.

For example, few citizens support going back to having pre-existing conditions excluded from health coverage. But if ACA is repealed, would that provision go to? And if not, how do you preserve the ACA ban on pre-existing condition exclusions and its requirement of premium nondiscrimination without an individual mandate? Private insurance companies could prove unable to manage the risk.

Similarly, if the Act is repealed, what about the age-26 provision that lets young dependents enroll in a parent’s employer-sponsored health care plan? What will happen to that important and popular provision?

Also, what happens to the employer shared responsibility mandate? Is it just repealed with everything else? Are employers who do not offer health coverage to full-time employees not to be expected to contribute to the cost of premium subsidies for those employees who buy coverage on the government exchanges? By the way, the employer mandate might be scaled back even if ACA is not repealed. But it’s an important detail.

Now that we’re nearing the end of primary season, the democratic and republican presidential candidates have a responsibility to tell employers, and indeed all Americans specifically what provisions they would repeal, change or replace, including the preceding. In essence, employers and employees need to know more than what is described on candidates’ campaign literature.

Howard Tarnoff

Howard Tarnoff is SVP of XOXO Innovation & Programs for Ceridian, responsible for launching and overseeing the Award Winning Customer Success Program “XOXO” and other initiatives. With over 30 years of HCM experience, Howard is a highly sought after thought leader in the industry, especially for his insightful trend analysis. His deep domain expertise across multiple verticals, leadership experience and deep understanding of the HCM industry make him an invaluable asset to Ceridian. Follow him on Twitter@htarnoff.

1 comment

  1. Great post on a timely and complex issue. Sadly, I’m not holding out hope that we’ll receive granularity on this topic (or on anything of substance, for that matter) within this political climate. I do find it staggering, however, that ACA has been on our radar screens for such a long time, yet it still is not fully settled. Is that emblematic of legislation that is too heavy to be practical, or of an electorate that remains unconvinced this was the right policy at the right time? Either way, it still serves as great fodder for talk shows, beltway punditry, and, sadly, over-simplified politicking.

    This was a great read. Look forward to hearing more perspectives.

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