Health Care Exchanges Good for the Consumer

If the Affordable Care Act disappeared tomorrow there would be two significant and impactful results – a better educated health care consumer and a shift towards defined contribution plans and private exchanges. We’ve long suggested that a shift to smarter consumers is a direct result of the Affordable Care Act. Consumers are shopping around, switching plans, and making decisions. Both public and private health exchanges are helping to engage consumers in a way we’ve never seen before.

Want to Compete? Go Private

What’s the first question a job candidate might ask you during an interview? It’s not about their hours, your culture, or even your management style – it’s about your benefits package, specifically, healthcare coverage. Savvy candidates know that employer-sponsored health care programs are changing and shifting. Savvy employers know that to compete, they must offer job candidates a worthwhile benefits package.

Michigan health insurers request rate changes

None of the 17 health insurers in Michigan that are selling policies to small-business groups for open enrollment starting Nov. 1 have applied for rate increases of 10 percent or more to trigger the Obamacare-mandated insurance approval review. Those 17 health insurers filing with the state are offering a total of 695 plans that would affect 341,430 employees in the small group market.

Employer Responsibility Under the ACA

The Affordable Care Act does not require businesses to provide health benefits to their workers, but larger employers face penalties if they don’t make affordable coverage available. The Obama Administration announced “transition relief” under which the penalties will go into effect in 2015 for employers with 100 or more employees and in 2016 for employers with 50 or more workers. This simple flowchart illustrates how those employer responsibilities work.

Healthcare Cost Transparency Has Finally (maybe) Come of Age

It used to be that finding out the cost of basic healthcare procedure was nearly impossible. We’ve long called for transparency in costs and hoped that 2015 would be a year of transparency. It turns out that we may get our wish, or we may at least gain some significant momentum. From proposed state legislation to new websites that help consumers check on prices – there is a lot of activity that will benefit consumers.

Are You Part of the Eight Percent?

Most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by Valentine’s Day. In fact, only about 8% of people achieve their resolutions each year. Right now the gyms are crowded, the stores are out of kale and everyone is miserable. Why do they fail? Mainly because people set unrealistic goals and the initial elation quickly fades when the first stumbling block appears. Success requires a change of “habit,” something extremely difficult to achieve