Health care experts from Aon Hewitt, the global human resource solutions business of Aon plc, provided comment on today's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that upholds the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (generally referred to as the ACA), which became law on March 23, 2010.
According to J.D. Piro, national practice leader in the Health Law Group of Aon Hewitt, "Now that the Court has ruled, U.S. employers will turn to executing the strategies for 2013 and 2014 that they have so far put on hold. In turn, agencies such as the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service and Health and Human Services, will need to work overtime to issue the significant amount of guidance employers need to implement these rules."
Specifically, Aon Hewitt expects employers to:
• Focus on managing complex compliance issues, including the implementation of summaries of benefits and coverage, understanding preventive care requirements for women for non-grandfathered plans and managing the individual mandate's necessary reporting requirements.
• Focus on communicating with their employees. Employers need to ensure their employees understand changes associated with the ACA, like the new $2,500 health care FSA limit, and have the resources they need to make decisions accordingly.
• Determine a retiree health care strategy. Many employers are moving away from sponsoring retiree health care programs as they utilize both government and private exchanges. With respect to prescription drug benefits, many employers are moving to a Medicare Part D employer group waiver plan (EGWP) in lieu of applying for the Medicare Part D retiree drug subsidy.
• Explore alternative strategies like corporate health care exchanges to combat continued rising health care costs. A recent Aon Hewitt survey showed that 72 percent of companies are very or somewhat interested in exploring whether a corporate exchange model can be an effective long-term solution for managing the cost of an employee health plan.
Longer-term, Aon Hewitt predicts employers will continue to look closely at their risk exposure in offering health benefits and designing and implementing strategies to control and manage health risk, absence risk and health care cost risk.
"The ACA provides employers an opportunity to redefine their role in health care and create a comprehensive health care strategy in 2013 to reflect this role," said John Zern, Americas Health & Benefits practice director at Aon Hewitt. "But with or without the ACA, the issues of rising health care costs, workforce health and productivity and absenteeism remain. Employers should continue to look at emerging approaches, such as corporate exchanges, to improve workforce health and performance and break away from the health care cost trend."
Visit www.aon.com/healthcarereform for Aon Hewitt's insights on the Supreme Court's ruling.
About Aon Hewitt
Aon Hewitt is the global leader in human resource solutions. The company partners with organizations to solve their most complex benefits, talent and related financial challenges, and improve business performance. Aon Hewitt designs, implements, communicates and administers a wide range of human capital, retirement, investment management, health care, compensation and talent management strategies. With more than 29,000 professionals in 90 countries, Aon Hewitt makes the world a better place to work for clients and their employees. For more information on Aon Hewitt, please visit www.aonhewitt.com.