VOL. 128 | NO. 50 | Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Daily News Seminar Highlights Affordable Care Act
By JENNIFER JOHNSON BACKER
Beginning in October, millions of Americans will be able to shop for health insurance through newly created health care exchanges dubbed the Health Insurance Marketplace.
This is also a critical period for businesses of all sizes as they navigate the 2010 Affordable Care Act and their responsibilities under the new law. The law requires employers with more than 50 employees to pay a fee if they don’t provide affordable coverage to their employees, while smaller firms are exempt from the employer responsibility requirements.
The Daily News Health Care Reform Seminar
When: April 4, 2013, 3:30 p.m.
Where: Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, 1934 Poplar Ave.
But many will still face difficult decisions about whether to offer coverage or to have employees shop through the new insurance marketplace, says Timothy Finnell, the president of Group Benefits LLC.
“Most employers feel a responsibility to make sure their employees are taken care of and have access to good insurance at reasonable rates,” he said. “There is a big vested interest in keeping employees healthy and happy and retaining them.”
That’s just one of the issues that will be addressed on Thursday, April 4, at a seminar on Health Care Reform presented by The Daily News and sponsored by Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, Rainey Kizer Reviere & Bell PLC and Group Benefits LLC.
The newspaper’s seminar will address local concerns about health care reform and how it will affect both the private and public sector.
The seminar will be held at 3:30 p.m. at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Auditorium. A networking reception will follow the presentation.
Susan Cooper, chief integration officer and senior vice president of ambulatory services at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis, will be the keynote speaker. The seminar also will feature a panel discussion on health care reform with Zach Chandler, vice president and metro market president at Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp.; Geoffrey Lindley, an attorney with Rainey Kizer; and Bill Hannah, principal with DHG Healthcare, the health care industry practice of Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP.
Over the past decade, health care premiums have soared for small businesses, leading many to scale back employer contributions and to make difficult business decisions.
Smaller businesses pay health care premiums that are 18 percent higher than what their larger counterparts pay, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Over the past decade, average annual family premiums at small firms increased 123 percent, from $5,700 in 1999 to $12,700 in 2009, the data shows.
Finnell, who also is a panelist at the event, said he has clients who are considering paying a higher share of health care premiums, rather than canceling coverage, to attract and retain skilled and talented workers.
He says many of his clients are concerned about how canceling insurance coverage or having employees buy coverage on the new insurance marketplaces will impact both their bottom line, and their employees’ bottom line.
Many are taking the view, “If I can increase my health care spend slightly to attract talent, that’s a pretty small price to pay,” he said.