Businesses brace for health law's coverage requirements, potential costs

Some large companies are scaling back generous health plans they have traditionally offered employees, even though the so-called 'Cadillac tax' on high-end plans doesn't take effect until 2018, while small firms are exploring early coverage renewals and self-insurance.

The New York Times: High-End Health Plans Scale Back To Avoid 'Cadillac Tax'
While most of the attention on the Obama administration's health care law has been on providing coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans by 2014, workers with employer-paid health insurance are also beginning to feel the effects. Companies hoping to avoid the tax are beginning to scale back the more generous health benefits they have traditionally offered and to look harder for ways to bring down the overall cost of care (Abelson, 5/27).

The Wall Street Journal: Some Small Firms Try Early Insurance Renewal To Blunt Health Law
Small businesses seeking to ward off key health-law provisions-;at least for a while-;are weighing offers by some large insurers to hit the reset button on their yearlong health plan contracts in December. Many contracts normally restart at the beginning of January. But, pushing the date to December could allow small firms to delay the impact of key health-law provisions that broadly kick in once plans renew after Jan. 1 (Mathews and Weaver, 5/27).

The Wall Street Journal: One Strategy For Health-Law Costs: Self Insure
As businesses cast about for ways to minimize new costs related to the federal health law, health insurers are stepping up. Among their latest offerings: allowing ever-smaller companies to switch to a riskier form of coverage traditionally favored by big employers (Weaver and Mathews, 5/27).

The Associated Press: Uncertainty Regarding Health Care Law Lingers For W. Va. Businesses
With nearly seven months to go before major provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect, West Virginia employers remain unsure about how they will deal with the changes, the head of the state Chamber of Commerce said. Two years after President Barack Obama signed his landmark health care proposal into law, and nearly one year after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of its provisions, business leaders are still trying to plan for how they will implement the changes (5/28).

Meanwhile, in other news related to health coverage -

Kaiser Health News: Obamacare Insurance Won't Cover Weight-Loss Surgery In Many States
Uninsured Americans who are hoping the new health insurance law will give them access to weight loss treatments are likely to be disappointed. That's especially the case in the Deep South where obesity rates are some of the highest in the nation, and states will not require health plans sold on the new online insurance marketplaces to cover medical weight loss treatments, whether prescription drugs or bariatric surgery (Varney, 5/27).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

 

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