How Can I Choose The Best Health Care Plan For Me?

When it comes to selecting a health insurance plan, premium is the most important factor for many shoppers (and especially those who are currently healthy). But price shouldn't be the only factor upon which you base your selection – even if your primary concern is financial (as opposed to things like provider networks, drug formularies, and quality ratings).

Click the Link Below:

http://www3.vestorly.com/posts/vestorly-22222222222222222222222222222222222227-how-can-i-choose-the-best-health-plan-for-me?query_params_id=5a031c239afa98000381e27a

SENATE REJECTS EFFORTS TO REPEAL THE ACA

OVERVIEW

In the early morning hours of July 28, 2017, members of the U.S. Senate voted 49-51 to reject a “skinny” version of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), called the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA).

This was the final vote of the Senate’s 20-hour debate period, and effectively ends the Republicans’ current efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. However, the skinny repeal bill may be reintroduced at some point in the future.

IMPACT ON EMPLOYERS

Because the Senate was unable to pass any ACA repeal or replacement bill, the ACA remains current law, and employers must continue to comply with all applicable ACA provisions.

 

NEXT STEPS

Following the vote, Senator McConnell indicated that Republicans now intend to focus on other legislative issues, although they remain committed to repealing the ACA. Despite this, the Senate may choose to reintroduce the HCFA, or pursue its own ACA repeal and replacement, at a future date.

 

Trump Administration Aims to Reduce Regulatory Burden

The executive order does not require employers to take immediate action. However, employers should continue to monitor any developments that may affect their compliance with federal law in various areas, including banking, employment benefits, health, environmental protection, transportation and workplace safety.

The Memorandum

The memorandum (memo) directs federal agencies to place a freeze on any rule, guidance or regulation that has not yet become effective as of Jan. 20, 2017. Specifically, the memo asks federal agencies to:

  • Refrain from sending to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR) any regulation that has not been reviewed by a newly appointed department or agency head;
  • Withdraw any regulations sent to the OFR if they have not yet been published; and
  • Postpone for 60 days the effective date of any regulations that have been published by the OFR but have not yet become effective.

An exemption from this directive applies to any emergency situation and other urgent circumstances relating to health, safety, financial or national security matters. However, state agencies are required to notify the OMB director (Director) of any regulations that, in their view, should be exempt from this directive. The notification must also include the agency’s explanation for why an exemption should be allowed.

The Executive Order

As mentioned above, the executive order requires federal agencies to identify two regulations for elimination for every regulation they propose to implement. However, the order allows for an exemption for any regulation that is related to military, national security and foreign affairs as well as regulations regarding agency organization, management and personnel.

The order also directs federal agencies to maintain a neutral budget expenditure, meaning that federal agencies will not be allowed to exceed their budgets for the cost of proposing, adopting, implementing, enforcing or repealing any regulation. To this end, federal agencies have been directed to offset the cost of any new regulations by eliminating the costs of existing regulations.

The key person for implementation of this order is the OMB Director. The order gives the Director a great deal of discretion to authorize additional exemptions and to define key terms such as “cost.” The Director has also been charged with the responsibility to issue guidance on the processes and standards the agencies will need to follow to comply with this order.

5 Important Issues to Monitor in 2017

New administrations bring new challenges to the professional realm, and the Trump administration is no exception. Many of the former administration’s health care initiatives are being rolled back or halted. This leaves employers in an uncertain place in regard to compliance regulations and reform laws. This uncertainty comes in addition to the already complicated day-to-day tasks of an organization, leaving many feeling vulnerable.

The following are five important issues that should be closely monitored in 2017:

  1. Unraveling of the ACA and Ensuring Employees are Educated Health Care Consumers: A new administration is now in office and President Donald Trump is vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The first wave of this dismantling came in an executive order that directs federal agencies to waive, delay or grant exemptions from ACA requirements that may impose a financial burden. Other measures are promised to come later in the year, and experts agree that the “wait and see” approach is best for employers until a clear directive is issued. This means employers should focus their energy on increasing employee health care knowledge in order to make employees more educated consumers. Health care consumerism will likely only increase under this administration, so focusing on employee education is a must.
  2. Employee Retention and Engagement: Employee retention and engagement is more difficult now than ever. With millennials projected to make up the dominant demographic of the workforce by 2020, employers need to rethink their company culture. To underscore the importance of fresh retention ideas, 44 percent of millennials say they would quit their jobs within two years if given the chance. Sixty percent say they wish to leave their current jobs by 2020. Now is the time to consider new retention and engagement initiatives.
  3. Paid Family and Medical Leave: Paid family and medical leave is an important and enticing package for employees. In the United States, over 88 percent of private sector employees do not have paid leave options, according to the Department of Labor (DOL). And of the few that do have access, over 33 percent believe taking leave would put their jobs at risk. States like California, New Jersey and Rhode Island all have paid leave laws in place, with other states working on their own legislation. This staggering gap in benefit offerings makes paid leave packages especially appealing for younger workers.
  4. EEO-1 Form Update: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has formally adopted modifications to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1), effective March 31, 2018. Beginning at this time, employers will need to report their total number of workers, their gender and race, their pay grade and job classification. The EEOC says this will help it more effectively investigate discrimination claims and pay disparities. In order to prepare for this new requirement, employers should begin compiling this information in 2017. 
  5. I-9 and E-verify Updates: The latest version of the I-9 form is now effective, as of Jan. 22, 2017. This means that employers must use the latest version for all new employees or face steep penalties. The form is not required for existing employees. The main changes include marking “N/A” in fields that would previously be left blank, verifying employment for individuals in person (not remotely via a webcam, for instance) and using a large blank field to leave notes instead of putting them in the margins.

As history shows, when there’s an administration change, employee benefits change as well. There will certainly be new legislation in the coming months, as promised by President Trump. HR needs to lead the way in communication and make adjustments to adhere to any new requirements.

The aforementioned issues describe only a handful of the new HR changes that are forecast  for 2017.