Business leaders get insurance wake-up call

Health StockBy Michaela Gibson Morris
Daily Journal

TUPELO – Nearly 200 business and community leaders from around the region ‘woke up’ with the Affordable Care Act on Friday morning.

The inaugural Wake Up Tupelo and Lee County event hosted by the Community Development Foundation focused on the impact of the health care reform law on businesses large and small with help from Pepper Crutcher, an attorney specializing in Affordable Care Act compliance, Franklin Corporation chief financial officer Jeff Cox and Congressman Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss.

“This law touches everyone in this room, make no mistake about it,” said Wally Davis, North Mississippi Health Services vice president of managed care, who served as moderator.

Companies with more than 50 full-time employees face stiff play-or-pay penalties – $2,000 per employee if they don’t offer health insurance. But figuring out if you fall into the above 50 category isn’t as obvious as you may think, Crutcher said.

“The federal government doesn’t count employees the same way you do,” Crutcher said. The hours worked by part-time employees have to be figured in. Seasonal employees can be excluded but only if they are truly seasonal.

Companies large and small also need to make sure they have properly classified their independent contractors. Because of the way data is collected for the Affordable Care Act to determine if individuals are eligible for subsidies, it could trigger Department of Labor audits.

“If you use independent contractors, make triple-dog sure that’s correct,” Crutcher said.

Cox talked about Houston-based Franklin Corporation’s decision to retain its self-insured plan. Even though Franklin’s plan is considered grandfathered, several things have changed, such as the elimination of lifetime limits, pre-existing conditions and some facets of its wellness plan.

The complex nature of the Affordable Care Act means that health insurance can’t just be something company leaders think about just before open enrollment, he said.

“We’re spending a lot more time thinking about it,” Cox said.

Nunnelee, who would like to see the law repealed, said the uncertainty surrounding the consequences of the Affordable Care Act is stifling to businesses and families around the region.

“Businesses are reluctant to hire and invest capital,” because they can’t anticipate their health care expenses, Nunnelee said.

michaela.morris@journalinc.com

  • DoubleTalk

    Shows how far out of touch folks are. The certainty has already hit. Higher insurance cost, reduction of full time labor, fewer folks able to afford anything. It has pushed more on the free train of government checks. Problem is someone has to work to pay for it.

    Medical greed in all areas from labor to equipment manufacturers to medicine to Insurance Execs is the real problem.

    • TWBDB

      Double Talk, I would invite you to reread this article for the double talk. This article warns business owners that tactics they were already using to exclude workers from employer insurance programs, such as part-time, seasonal, and contract classifications, will not necessarily work for them anymore under the new Affordable Health Care Act regulations.

      • TWBDB

        Insurance premiums have risen steadily every year for well over a decade. Over the same period, less and less employees were covered under employer-based programs or their own contributions increased. I would agree to a certain extent that R&D service, consumables, and equipment providers have contributed significantly to the rise in health care costs: but I would challenge you to consider the % contribution as compared to administrative costs of health care administrative corporations (finance companies). I know first hand that a significant % of medical diagnostic and research equipment has drastically dropped in price since the 90′s. The equipment I know has certainly dropped in price by at least half or more.

      • TWBDB

        Insurance premiums have risen steadily every year for well over a decade. Over the same period, less and less employees were covered under employer-based programs or their own contributions increased. I would agree to a certain extent that R&D service, consumables, and equipment providers have contributed significantly to the rise in health care costs: but I would challenge you to consider the % contribution as compared to administrative costs of health care administrative corporations (finance companies). I know first hand that a significant % of medical diagnostic and research equipment has drastically dropped in price since the 90′s. The equipment I know has certainly dropped in price by at least half or more.

      • TWBDB

        Insurance premiums have risen steadily every year for well over a decade. Over the same period, less and less employees were covered under employer-based programs or their own contributions increased. I would agree to a certain extent that R&D service, consumables, and equipment providers have contributed significantly to the rise in health care costs: but I would challenge you to consider the % contribution as compared to administrative costs of health care administrative corporations (finance companies). I know first hand that a significant % of medical diagnostic and research equipment has drastically dropped in price since the 90′s. The equipment I know has certainly dropped in price by at least half or more.

      • TWBDB

        Insurance premiums have risen steadily every year for well over a decade. Over the same period, less and less employees were covered under employer-based programs or their own contributions increased. I would agree to a certain extent that R&D service, consumables, and equipment providers have contributed significantly to the rise in health care costs: but I would challenge you to consider the % contribution as compared to administrative costs of health care administrative corporations (finance companies). I know first hand that a significant % of medical diagnostic and research equipment has drastically dropped in price since the 90′s. The equipment I know has certainly dropped in price by at least half or more.

        • johrrty

          The new tax on it reduces the need to buy.

          • TWBDB

            Double Talk, where we do agree is on greed. A corporate bean counter may see innovations in patient sample processing as a means to reduce lab space and staffing rather than an opportunity to expand higher content patient care. It’s all about how that bean counter is incentivized; profit margin per patient vs moving each patient toward the new frontier of personalized medicine.

            Obamacare, like it or not, offers a framework around which we can start to unify and manage health care. It’s a blend of politics; a merger of Dem lead single payer strategy and Rep medical exchange program strategy. Now that the framework is in place, it’s time to get the politicians out of the mix, correct the errors made, and work to maximize the long-term benefits of innovation.

            What troubles me most isn’t the Fed setting guidelines to unify medical record keeping, baseline med insurance benefits, or each State government now working with insurance companies to formulate exchange programs. But rather the political bean counters whipping fear, setting in place negative expectations, and giving corporate bean counters the perfect set of excuses to raise per patient – per employee profit margin.

            If we continue to create and promote the expectation of our nation going to hell in a hand-basket, it will. We can make a choice to believe we’re better than that.

          • johrrty

            One size does not fit all. Liberty and freedom are private needs not a computer record of your health.

        • johrrty

          The new tax on it reduces the need to buy.

        • johrrty

          The new tax on it reduces the need to buy.

        • johrrty

          The new tax on it reduces the need to buy.

        • DoubleTalk

          The medical equipment I know of has not decreased, especially if it has to do with patient contact. However I will consider your 1st hand info and ask If the diagnostic equipment has gone down since the 90′s why has the cost to the patient gone up ?

          • TWBDB

            That’s a great question Double Talk. I wish I had an answer for you.

            I can tell you that the market has driven innovation to address cost per patient sample in my field. Optical, sample handling, and especially digital components while undergoing a virtual renaissance in capabilities have not only dropped in price but continue to trend toward smaller devices requiring less real estate and less operator expertise. What I hear clients complaining about the most are indirect costs, overhead, administrative interference costs in time and energy, etc. If I were to speculate on the drivers behind increased patient expenditures, these are the factors I would check first.

          • TWBDB

            That’s a great question Double Talk. I wish I had an answer for you.

            I can tell you that the market has driven innovation to address cost per patient sample in my field. Optical, sample handling, and especially digital components while undergoing a virtual renaissance in capabilities have not only dropped in price but continue to trend toward smaller devices requiring less real estate and less operator expertise. What I hear clients complaining about the most are indirect costs, overhead, administrative interference costs in time and energy, etc. If I were to speculate on the drivers behind increased patient expenditures, these are the factors I would check first.

          • TWBDB

            That’s a great question Double Talk. I wish I had an answer for you.

            I can tell you that the market has driven innovation to address cost per patient sample in my field. Optical, sample handling, and especially digital components while undergoing a virtual renaissance in capabilities have not only dropped in price but continue to trend toward smaller devices requiring less real estate and less operator expertise. What I hear clients complaining about the most are indirect costs, overhead, administrative interference costs in time and energy, etc. If I were to speculate on the drivers behind increased patient expenditures, these are the factors I would check first.

          • TWBDB

            That’s a great question Double Talk. I wish I had an answer for you.

            I can tell you that the market has driven innovation to address cost per patient sample in my field. Optical, sample handling, and especially digital components while undergoing a virtual renaissance in capabilities have not only dropped in price but continue to trend toward smaller devices requiring less real estate and less operator expertise. What I hear clients complaining about the most are indirect costs, overhead, administrative interference costs in time and energy, etc. If I were to speculate on the drivers behind increased patient expenditures, these are the factors I would check first.

        • DoubleTalk

          The medical equipment I know of has not decreased, especially if it has to do with patient contact. However I will consider your 1st hand info and ask If the diagnostic equipment has gone down since the 90′s why has the cost to the patient gone up ?

        • DoubleTalk

          The medical equipment I know of has not decreased, especially if it has to do with patient contact. However I will consider your 1st hand info and ask If the diagnostic equipment has gone down since the 90′s why has the cost to the patient gone up ?

        • DoubleTalk

          The medical equipment I know of has not decreased, especially if it has to do with patient contact. However I will consider your 1st hand info and ask If the diagnostic equipment has gone down since the 90′s why has the cost to the patient gone up ?

    • TWBDB

      Double Talk, I would invite you to reread this article for the double talk. This article warns business owners that tactics they were already using to exclude workers from employer insurance programs, such as part-time, seasonal, and contract classifications, will not necessarily work for them anymore under the new Affordable Health Care Act regulations.

    • TWBDB

      Double Talk, I would invite you to reread this article for the double talk. This article warns business owners that tactics they were already using to exclude workers from employer insurance programs, such as part-time, seasonal, and contract classifications, will not necessarily work for them anymore under the new Affordable Health Care Act regulations.

    • TWBDB

      Double Talk, I would invite you to reread this article for the double talk. This article warns business owners that tactics they were already using to exclude workers from employer insurance programs, such as part-time, seasonal, and contract classifications, will not necessarily work for them anymore under the new Affordable Health Care Act regulations.

  • DoubleTalk

    Shows how far out of touch folks are. The certainty has already hit. Higher insurance cost, reduction of full time labor, fewer folks able to afford anything. It has pushed more on the free train of government checks. Problem is someone has to work to pay for it.

    Medical greed in all areas from labor to equipment manufacturers to medicine to Insurance Execs is the real problem.

  • DoubleTalk

    Shows how far out of touch folks are. The certainty has already hit. Higher insurance cost, reduction of full time labor, fewer folks able to afford anything. It has pushed more on the free train of government checks. Problem is someone has to work to pay for it.

    Medical greed in all areas from labor to equipment manufacturers to medicine to Insurance Execs is the real problem.

  • Winston Smith

    So far all the Affordable Health Care Act has seemed to accomplish is driving insurance premiums through the roof. I actually think it started out a great idea, but what we ended up with seems to accomplish the exact opposite of what this legislation set out to do.

  • guest

    It is almost shameful that our sitting Representative in Washington would come to a seminar to educate local business on the Affordable Health Care Act only to offer the point he wants to repeal it. Hopefully the press and the public will wake up and see how much uncertainty and confusion about the new law is coming from the dysfunctional obstruction Rep Nunelee, Gov Bryant and most Republicans are causing. The sad part is they are offering to eliminate the law without offering any alternative to over 30 million people that will be helped by full implementation of the AHCA.

    We currently have a working model of mandated health insurance in the state of Massachusetts that is not over run with part time jobs or business closing shop. We already see private rates dropping in the states that are actively setting up exchanges which are filtering over to the employer plans.

    When will the public realize that not only have Republicans been on the wrong side of successful programs like Social Security and Medicare that have helped tens of millions in the US but they have constantly attacked them to defund and eliminate them? How much time and money has been wasted on a ideals that they themselves cannot implement into law or policy.