A Few Thoughts on the Affordable Care Act

We have been talking about the Affordable Care Act for more than four years now. Since 2010, we’ve spent countless hours trying to grasp all of the implications and fine print of the law so we can fully understand its impacts on our clients. Although some of the important provisions have been delayed, most small businesses and individuals have already experienced the first round of increased taxes and changes to their health insurance options and costs.

Here are a few of the lessons we have learned along with some points that you might find helpful:

  • There are winners and losers. Your family and your coworkers or employees will each be impacted in a different way. Some might be able to afford health insurance for the first time in their lives. Some might have to pay twice as much for similar insurance coverage. Still others might have their monthly premiums cut in half only to find that their deductibles and out-of-pocket costs have increased dramatically. Because there are so many variables, adopting or modifying an employer-provided health insurance plan in a way that is “fair” to every single employee has proven to be very challenging—if not impossible.
  • Most people have found that the overall quality of their health insurance plan is a step down from the equivalent pre-ACA insurance plans. In efforts to cover all of the ACA mandates, while keeping the plans “affordable,” insurance companies, unfortunately, have raised copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.
  • Many employers are considering offering employees cash for the value of their health insurance benefit if the employee does not participate in the employer-sponsored plan. Although this might sound like a good idea, paying an employee cash instead of providing a health insurance benefit is considered taxable compensation and is not a tax-free benefit.

If you have any questions about the Affordable Care Act and how it might impact your personal or business situation, please contact us and we will be happy to share more information with you.