LOCKTON EXPERT ADVISES CLIENTS, “STAY THE COURSE.”
Health reform decision surprises few, impacts many.
(Kansas City, MO) 28 June, 2012 - With thousands of employer-clients, tens of thousands of employees, and even their colleagues looking for answers, Edward Fensholt, JD, and Mark Holloway, JD, leaders of Lockton's Compliance Services group, have been watching closely as health reform evolves. As principals in Lockton's Health Reform Advisory Practice, Fensholt, Holloway and their colleagues have been advising employers, modelling scenarios for the "play or pay" mandate in 2014, and otherwise preparing business owners, financial officers, human resource professionals, and other executives for a day much like today, when all eyes are on health reform.
"The health reform train keeps on rollin'," says Fensholt. "Today's decision didn't derail the law, or even send it down another track. It's now 'full speed ahead' toward full implementation of the law's signature provisions in 2014."
"Employers who were sitting on the fence, not entirely embracing all the changes and strategic thinking required by reform, will have to engage...quickly," said Holloway. "Employers will need to begin making significant, strategic decisions within the next several months.
Fensholt notes that with the road to the law's key components-the individual and employer mandates, and the health insurance exchanges-now wide open, regulatory activity will accelerate significantly. "Regulations, particularly on the employer mandate, will be very complex," Fensholt says, "and we can expect a crush of complex guidance compressed into a very short time."
With the Court's decision to uphold the individual mandate and the health reform law, there remain a great many moving parts. "Next stops on the health reform train include distribution of four-page plan summaries, W-2 reporting of health plan values, limits on health flexible spending accounts, new income and capital gains taxes on executives," Fensholt said. "There remains plenty to do."
Holloway notes that the Supreme Court opinion also adds a wrinkle to the reform law's Medicaid eligibility expansion. "The Court said the feds cannot hold a state's Medicaid funding hostage, if the state doesn't play," Holloway says. "That might mean more people seek subsidized coverage in an insurance exchange or-worse-that some folks will qualify for neither Medicaid coverage nor exchange-based subsidies."
Lockton will further explore the impact of the health reform decision during a webcast at 1 p.m. CT on Friday, June 29, 2012. Please click to register, or for more information. For more information at any time, please visit the Lockton Health Reform Blog at www.LocktonHealthReformBlog.com.