By Colin Menchin
A major change in the U.S. healthcare system is approaching, and come January 1, 2015, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will significantly impact the way your clients manage their business. For service providers like you, the recent one year delay to the employer mandate portion of this legislation is also an opportunity to provide practical advice and guidance to further position your company as the workforce management expert for your clients. You can play a critical role in helping them prepare for the ACA in the coming months by describing the legislation’s expected impact, outlining various ways to respond, and providing practical steps to take going forward.
Help your clients take a proactive approach to ACA compliance and control the potential impact of associated costs by ensuring the workforce management solution you provide allows them to:
- Provide accurate information about average hours worked by full-time and part-time employees
- Notify management automatically when part-time employees are approaching the 30-hour threshold in a given week
- Deliver timely analysis of employee data that will help determine benefit eligibility, improving compliance and assisting in reducing financial penalties
- Let employees use self-service functionality to enroll in benefits themselves while allowing senior-level staff to monitor enrollment
- Use comprehensive auditing and reporting features that allow them to provide evidence of ACA compliance efforts to government agencies
Once you’ve discussed how your workforce management platform can handle their ACA needs, you’ll next want to help them choose the right strategy for their business going forward:
- Provide – Employers can opt to provide “affordable” minimum essential coverage. With the threshold for full-time employees (FTEs) at 30+ hours per week under the ACA, this can mean having to provide coverage to more employees and therefore, higher costs. For this option, your clients will want to consider weighing the benefits of improved employee satisfaction with the higher healthcare costs they may incur.
- Pay – Employers can opt to pay the $2,000 penalty per employee (for each FTE in excess of 30 FTEs) for not providing coverage. While some employers may find this to be cheaper than providing coverage, it still means additional costs. Clients will have to weigh the benefits of choosing this potentially less-expensive option against the risk of losing top employees to businesses offering benefit plans.
- Play – Employers can opt to reduce the number of FTEs by cutting hours to fewer than 30 per week. This option would effectively generate savings because companies wouldn’t be liable for paying benefits or government fines. The risk is that it could impact service levels due to fewer employee hours from top performers. Should companies decide to add more part-time staff, complications around scheduling may arise, and employee turnover could increase as employees are forced to find more hours elsewhere.
In the time leading up to the employer mandate portion of the ACA taking effect, it’s important to continue establishing yourself as the go-to industry expert for your clients. Many of them will undoubtedly be affected by the ACA, and will be looking to implement a solution in the next six to nine months, so be sure to start offering a solution soon in addition to staying top-of-mind with clients by reaching out and offering your assistance.
Please comment below and share how you are helping your clients to prepare for the Affordable Care Act. If you’re interested in learning more about providing a workforce management solution to help your clients more effectively navigate the ACA, please contact our business development team at SaaShrBizDev@Kronos.com.
About Colin Menchin:
Colin is a Marketing Specialist at SaaShr responsible for the marketing programs of the company along with other responsibilities within the department.