Employers Wary of New Health Care Reforms
Business groups are still treading carefully when it comes to President Obama’s new Health Care Reform. In particular the ruling on limiting how much an employer and insurers can make changes to their health insurance plans while still remaining exempt from potentially costly new consumer protections.
On the other side of the equation, consumer groups rejoiced and had nothing but praise for the new regulations. These new reforms will ensure that millions of Americans receive the full benefits entitled to them under the new health care law.
A major bone of contention has been over existing plans being made exempt from the new regulations. These so called “grandfather plans” would be exempt from certain provisions designed to protect consumers. Such as being unable to charge for cancer screening, immunizations and other health services deemed preventative.
By the year 2013, the administration estimates that half of all employers, including two-thirds of small employers could lose their grandfathered status.
Business groups are arguing for less stringent expensive requirements in return for small changes to their internal health plans, to help meet new Federal requirements. While consumer groups, as can be expected argued for even tougher rules that would help to achieve ultimate coverage for millions of Americans who are at present disadvantaged when it comes to these protections.
Business groups further argue that they oppose the health regulation overhaul due to once the grandfather plans are lost, employers will have no choice but to follow a series of expensive new insurance rules which will not only increase costs for employers but employees as well in the long run. This will ultimately lead to threatening the coverage that most Americans already have, through negative underlying impacts.
Small businesses in particular would find it more difficult to offer the necessary coverage and thereby meet its legal obligations as required by these new regulations. Due to all the criteria associated with such bold reforms, the restrictions on small businesses would be enormous. Restrictions such as co-pays, adjustments on cost sharing and even deductibles, would all affect the small business bottom line.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said in a statement: “This is a strong rule that encourages plans to strengthen benefits for patients and strips them of their ‘grandfather’ status if they choose to reduce benefits or substantially shift costs to patients.”
Administration officials said the rules help strike the balance between giving most Americans the benefits of the new law while meeting their promise to allow people to “keep their current coverage if they like it.”
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