A Note on Health Reform Employers Mandated Delayed

Jul 03, 13 A Note on Health Reform Employers Mandated Delayed

By Martha C. Rivera, Director of Strategy and Insights

The extension of the deadline to implement the ACA Small Business component through 2015 is not a major setback of the reform. Instead, it seems a much needed administrative provision due to the enormous complexities that the implementation of this specific component entails. As a consumer communications and marketing consultant on the reform implementation, I’ve repeatedly seen, particularly in the last few months, that most entities involved in the execution of Small Business Exchanges have yet to arrive at a full understanding of what is needed. State health departments, health insurance companies, advertisers, digital services providers and many others, in general have focused their efforts on the Individual Insurance and Medicaid components of the reform, leaving a nearly impossible to meet the deadline for the Small Business part.

According to the health care law, employers with 50 or more full time employees are required to provide health insurance to them under tax penalties. For this purpose, states should set up an online marketplace or Exchange, which would operate under the same concept of the Individual Insurance Exchanges. However, the reality of the labor statistics in the country determines several key questions (1).

America has an estimate 27.8 million of Small Business in the U.S., defined as those with less than 500 employees. They represent 99.7% of all employers and employed 27.8 million workers in 2010.  However, nearly 80% of them have less than 20 employees (1). The health care law, as it was approved in March 2010, covered companies with 50 full-time equivalent employees, although the requirements to determine how a full-time equivalent is established and demonstrated remains unclear. Unfortunately, this is only one example of the many gaps yet to be filled regarding the implementation of this part of the law.

Minority-owned small businesses represent about 43% of the total. The figure clearly indicates that entities involved must pay close attention to the specific needs of the Small Business Exchange’s multicultural users, a population that has already been a focus of the Individual Insurance Exchanges.

“This only proves that the need for effective communication is now paramount. We must take a proactive role in messaging, outreach and education,” said George L. San Jose, president and chief creative officer at The San Jose Group. “We only have one chance to be first and get this right with the consumer before consumers start forming opinions as to how the health care reform works.”

1 Comment

  1. There quite a bit of work still to be done to make sure that nobody is being left behind, especially considering 43% is a very large portion of the whole.

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