I think most HR and benefit professionals feel that offering a worthwhile benefits package is a key part of the employee value proposition. When someone joins a company, particularly one like ours, they’re going to expect competitive benefits that are built around choice and value. It’s a responsibility that large employers are not going to outsource or abdicate anytime soon.
So when it comes to ACA compliance, the underlying theme is really to fulfill a critical business objective with regard to talent management. Administrative challenges are significant and are ongoing. We have to explain the law to employees and keep them fully informed through thoughtful communication. And a huge issue is to ensure that IT systems will be able to accommodate ACA reporting requirements, which is an administrative nightmare.
But, long-term, what we’ve focused on is complying with the ACA while providing value to our employees. Like many employers, we’ve been transitioning to health care consumerism, which is a good thing and something that the ACA has helped accelerate.
People know how to shop for cameras or the right vacation spot online, but they’ve struggled to do the same with health insurance coverage and wellness programs. It’s difficult to anticipate one’s health care needs in the year ahead, and as a result, pick a plan with the optimal deductible and co-pays and provider networks. While some poor coverage decisions might be unavoidable, employees eventually will get better at deciding what’s right for them. Fortunately, decision-support tools and incentives for improving health behaviors are much better than they used to be, and they appear to be driving positive change.
The rise of health care consumerism is bound to result in improved health care quality and outcomes when you consider that we’re gaining better insight on doctors and the cost of their services. When consumers are fully informed, they make better decisions and will avoid being over-insured or under-insured.
Mercer has assembled a panel of experts to reflect on key health care reform developments and share their expectations for the future. Marcelo Modica is a Senior Partner and Mercer’s Chief People Officer.