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4 ways companies are adjusting to the Affordable Care Act

Affordable Care ActOne of the primary goals in HR is to work tirelessly to ensure corporate health and wellness, but in the quest to do so, companies often find themselves balancing a lot of conflicting values. For example: On one hand, they have a constant need to keep their employees healthy and engaged, but at the same time, they also need to worry about keeping costs down and the business profitable.

Performing balancing acts like this is never easy. It’s perhaps even more difficult given that the Affordable Care Act is a constant concern for employers – because the legislation mandates that companies provide health coverage for so many of their workers, companies have to be very careful about the way they do and don’t allocate their wellness dollars.

According to HR Morning, this is becoming a slightly less worrisome trend for companies everywhere, but it’s still something to be a little concerned about. The news source cited the results of Littler Mendelson’s third annual Executive Employer Survey – the data showed that 41 percent of employers worry about Obamacare having a significant impact on them this year, which is a nice drop from 57 percent in 2013, but it’s still a figure worth pondering.

Wellness expert Jared Bilski speculated that though companies are a little less unnerved by Obamacare than they once were, it’s still a topic that’s on their minds.

“It’s been four years since the Affordable Care Act was passed, and firms have become increasingly more comfortable with the administrative burdens the law piled on,” Bilski stated, according to HR Morning. “But there are other concerns keeping HR pros and the executive suite up at night … Although worrying over the Affordable Care Act has decreased, it’s still a major concern for employers.”

So what are companies doing about their ACA concerns? According to Littler Mendelson’s research, they’re taking four actions in particular.

Getting legal help
If there’s ever any confusion about how to comply with the ACA – or any other piece of legislation, really – it never hurts to have legal counsel on hand to help sift through all the jargon. Numerous companies have in-house lawyers available to help them solve their health and wellness quandaries.

Implementing wellness programs
It’s always nice when companies do what they can to look out for the health of their employees. To that end, having an employee assistance program in place is a great way for businesses to do their part and make sure employees are as well as possible.

Offering privatized benefits
As far as the financial constraints of the ACA go, it’s always difficult to cover everyone without going over budget. Some companies are offering their employees access to private health insurance exchanges as an alternate strategy to get them covered. This requires collaboration between worker and employer, though.

Limiting employees’ hours
Another strategy companies are trying? Adjusting people’s schedules in order to tweak how many hours they’re working – and thus, how much health coverage they need. Budgeting for employee wellness is always difficult, and a dynamic strategy that responds to people’s changing workloads is often necessary.

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