Businesses in each state must remain fully updated on their state’s compliance topics when it comes to healthcare and health benefits plans. Unfortunately, the landscape of healthcare legislation, regulation, and reform, even just at the state level, can be beyond the in-house capacity of most human resources teams or departments. Working with LHD provides a competitive advantage because our account teams are always ahead of the compliance curve, constantly staying up-to-date on the latest state regulatory compliance topics and providing complete compliance support for your company’s benefit plans.
Given how quickly state regulations around healthcare and health insurance can change, relying on LHD to ensure your company’s compliance is a wise business decision. It’s also within the company’s best interest for your human resources team to know what’s happening with state regulatory compliance topics.
When you visit the LHD blog page, you’ll see one of the category filters is compliance. Using that will identify all the latest blog posts we’ve published related to this topic. While those are focused on federal regulatory compliance topics, those changes must also play out at the state level in some way. To learn more about the compliance impact in your state within the context of current state regulations, contact your LHD account team.
Another filter you can use on the blog page is for webinars. LHD webinar presentations are often focused on the compliance impact of both current and changing federal regulatory compliance topics employers need to know about. Human resource staff who maintain an HR certification can pay a fee to attend the webinar and earn one recertification credit hour through either the Human Resource Certification Institute or the Society for Human Resource Management.
How important is it to have a benefits advisory like LHD in your corner for compliance purposes? To illustrate, here’s an issue your company may not have thought much about, depending on which state your business calls home. When Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) was passed, one of its provisions was the individual health insurance mandate. Remember that? In an effort to reduce the number of uninsured Americans, the law said you had to sign on to a health insurance plan, or you’d be penalized when filing your federal income tax forms.
However, when the administration changed, the individual mandate was phased out, effective in tax year 2019. As expected, the number of individuals without health insurance coverage started to rise again. At first glance, none of this seems to have any impact on employer health plans since most individuals the mandate applied to were getting their coverage through the individual market, not the group health insurance market. Since then, however, some states have been alarmed by the rise in uninsured citizens in their state and decided to enact state laws imposing individual health insurance coverage mandates. Among the first states to pass individual mandate laws were New Jersey, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Several more states have been considering such legislation.
This is where things could get complicated for businesses in states with new individual mandate laws and there are aspects that could affect employers. Those states are likely to require new reporting and disclosure to the state as a way to enforce the mandate. This is already the case in both Massachusetts and New Jersey. States with individual mandates may need to contact individual employees through the employer to publicize the mandate.
There’s also the question of whether an employer health plan meets the “minimum essential coverage” (MEC) definition. Under Obamacare, most employer group health plans did meet the MEC provision. Whether those plans will meet the MEC of a state mandate law depends on how the state defines MEC. In other words, employers may have to make changes to their health benefits plans in order to comply with state mandate laws if the MEC is defined in a way that diverges substantially from the federal definition. Employers in states with individual mandate laws may also see a sustained increase in enrollments of employee spouses and dependents because of the mandate, which in turn may have a big impact on an employer’s overall spend on healthcare through their health plan.
As you can see from the above example, state regulatory compliance topics make for a complex landscape because of how state regulations may differ substantially from federal regulations. This is another good reason to partner with LHD and our compliance service.
LHD’s compliance service is just one of many services we offer, all with the ultimate goal of helping businesses like yours design, implement, evaluate, and sustain strategic high-performing health plans. For us, this means achieving an optimal balance between treating employees right while also identifying ways to control the ever-rising cost of healthcare that impacts the bottom line.
Instead of only seeing the cost, remember to reframe your health benefits plan as an investment into the well-being of your workforce, which does pay big dividends when done well. Healthier employees miss less work, are more productive when at work, and have higher morale and loyalty when they see their employer investing in their well-being. The result is lower turnover, higher retention, and greater productivity, all of which have positive bottom-line impacts on your business.
If the time is right for your business to get serious about being strategic when it comes to your company’s health
benefits plan, LHD is ready to help. Get in touch with us through the Contact page of our website, by telephone
at 371.751.7049, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.