Health care policy requirements addressed

By Sarah Robinson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – BancorpSouth hosted a lunch on Thursday at the Summit Center to inform businesses what will be required in order to comply with the new federal health care reform legislation.
The 2012 law has caused consternation among business owners struggling to figure out which mandates will apply to them while details and changes continue to roll out.
“The problem,” explained John Nance of BancorpSouth , “is that it is a moving target.”
He said the bank’s employee benefits department helps employers determine what changes they need to make to adhere to federal policy.
Andy Impastato, vice president of client compliance at BancorpSouth, offered businesses an update on existing requirements and an in-depth look into what requirements could be for 2014 and beyond.
About 100 people attended the event, many of whowm were human resources representatives.
Gail Gregory, human resources manager for Tapco in Tupelo, said she attended to learn “mainly how it’s going to affect small groups under 50, because that’s what we are.”
Impastato said the policy will affect all employers regardless of the number of people they employ.
“Its time to get your brain around it, for better or worse,” he said. But there are caveats that make the application of the law different for each individual business.
PAY OR PLAY
The controversial employer “pay or play” mandate and its likely impact on business was discussed. This mandate attempts to redefine what qualifies part-time and full-time employees and requires business to provide a “minimum essential coverage” to employees and dependents or risk being fined $2,000 per act of non-compliance.
However, the federal government has yet to settle on the definition of minimum essential coverage.
Impastato said, “It’s one of those stay-tuned things. We’ll have to wait and see.”
“It’s going to cost, just don’t know how much yet,” said Jack Dilworth of VIP Cinema. “Nobody is an expert in it, that’s for sure.”
Cassandra Moore, human resources director for the city of Tupelo, said that while it is likely to cost more, “it’s good to take care of those employees.” She said the city has already “been trying to work with our (insurance) carrier to be proactive.”
The policy is aimed at providing relief to the millions of working Americans that lack access to affordable health care. Many experts say the expense associated with treating uninsured individuals to rising health care costs across the board.
Impastato encouraged businesses without a compliance officer to work with carriers and experts to determine what will be required for them specifically.
He said as part of the roll- out, the federal government has hired an additional 4,000 investigators “not as a scare tactic,” but to make sure people understand how to comply.
sarah.robinson@journalinc.com