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A Primer on What Businesses Should Know About the New World of Health Insurance

Posted 10/17/2013 by TCAuthor3

By Greg Long, Senior Vice President Systems of Care &  CMO

Three-and-a-half years after President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act many people are still confused about what it means for businesses – especially small businesses which are economic engines in many of the communities in northeast Wisconsin. I’m sure the political infighting about the law isn’t helping – some days it’s hard to know what to believe. I’m going to do my best to sift through the dirt and help you sort out what changes, if any, you might need to make in the next few months.

For businesses with more than 50 employees, it’s a new world. Starting in 2015, you must provide health insurance to your employees or pay a fee. If you have fewer than 50 employees, you’re not required to provide insurance. ThedaCare has contracts with many area employers and we’d be happy to help you create a plan that works for your company. Or if you’d prefer to purchase insurance from the healthcare exchange marketplace, there are several options to consider. You can visit Wisconsin’s exchange at healthcare.gov to review and compare insurance plans.

Since one of the major initiatives of health reform is prevention, we want to make sure you’re aware of our ThedaCare At Work services. We work with you to improve workplace health for your employees (and the health of your company). We currently manage onsite clinics at 39 employer locations, including Appvion (formerly Appleton Papers) and Miller Electric. Our objective: Improve health while reducing costs for all. In 2012, ThedaCare At Work conducted more than 18,000 periodic health assessments of around 100 companies in our part of the state.

Healthcare reform encourages your employees to take more personal responsibility for their health. It may mean paying attention to things like using generic medications vs. name-brand options. It might mean they pay more attention to things like workplace safety to avoid costly trips to the emergency room. You can help them become more informed by providing them with access to information they need to make the best decisions about their health.

While the “employer mandate” has been postponed until 2015, the law does require you to offer health insurance coverage. If your employees need COBRA coverage or has special insurance needs, visit healthcare.gov for more information.

The bottom line is that you need to do your homework – really understand your insurance options, plan benefits, how they work for you and what limits the plan places on your choice of doctors, hospitals and health care services.

Still have questions? We’re here to help you – www.thedacare.org.