No Silly Season When it Comes to Healthcare

March 9, 2016

Our political “silly season” should be nearing an end soon. The political debates have finally taken on a more serious tone; questions no longer resemble tabloid fodder. The future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) gets significant attention and each candidate has a strong position on what it will look like during his or her time as President.

Will it be repealed? Expanded greatly? Will we move to a single payer system? All scenarios are possible under the current slate of candidates. The reality, however, paints a slightly different picture.

The Obama Administration estimates that over 10 million Americans will be enrolled under the Affordable Care Act by the end of 2016. These numbers suggest that complete repeal, or an immediate move to a single payer system is highly unlikely, at least in the short term.

So, if you’re running your own business and waiting around for 2017 and a complete repeal, you might want to think again. If you’re hopeful that the Cadillac tax will be gone, it might not be. This approach could backfire on you.

Just as the public health exchanges continue to grow, so too do private health insurance exchanges. There’s evidence to support Accenture’s predictions that enrollees in private exchanges will top 40 million by 2018. Six million employees enrolled in a private exchange in 2015, doubling the 2014 enrollment number. Accenture expects 12 million in 2016. By 2018, private exchange growth will exceed the public exchanges.

Private exchanges and defined contribution plans aren’t going anywhere. They don’t hinge on a political election or a political party. They’re gaining in popularity for a few very good reasons. They make sense. Employers are happy. Employees have more control. They are ACA compliant for as long as the ACA is still around.

What was once a guessing game is now reality. Employers are containing costs, simplifying benefits administration, and offering a wider array of choices, including ancillary products. With the ability to add wellness programs for employees, some employers are seeing increased productivity, which would impact the bottom line.

It may be too late to be an early adopter of a private exchange for your business but it’s never too late to talk to your broker and make a change. Then go vote!

Originally posted by Maura Donley on March 1, 2016

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