In March 2013 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a one-year delay to a key component of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), set to launch in October. State-specific SHOPs will provide a separate marketplace for small group plans -- which employers with up to 100 employees could make available to their full-time workers -- within each of the public exchanges that are a hallmark of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
When an employee requires a period of leave because of a medical issue or disability, the situation is not always straightforward, and the best way to manage it is not always clear. Adding to the confusion is that employers face an ever-changing alphabet soup of federal and state laws and regulations, starting with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
As key provisions of healthcare reform under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) move closer to implementation, employers need to consider how they will respond.
In early August 2012, some U.S. employers with fully insured employee health benefit plans received a medical loss ratio (MLR) rebate. These rebates were mandated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) whenever health insurers do not spend at least a certain percentage (generally, 80% to 85%) of the prior year’s health insurance premiums on healthcare services. The rebates received in August 2012 cover premiums collected for the 2011 plan year.
When it comes to designing and communicating employee benefit programs, employee input and involvement can be a boon. After all, one of the best ways to gain buy-in for and to communicate employee benefit programs is to use peer-to-peer interaction. If a group of employees supports these programs and makes it a point to tell other employees, organizations can build buy-in for programs and changes more readily.