Nothing creates panic in business like massive changes and spikes in expenses, especially when handed down by bureaucrats. Healthcare and benefits are on everyone’s mind. Employers are scrambling to make sense of it all and many tell me they are anxious. And with good reason. The many complicated new regulations, terminology, and alterations in healthcare laws are confusing.
These new changes are forcing companies to manage their finances, and the increased costs and government penalties will limit the quality and kind of care and benefits options available, as the financial facts drive important company decisions.
Here’s a quick summary chart of what’s entailed in the new Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) that unfolds over the next ten years and requires companies or individuals to buy healthcare to avoid stiff fines. Plus, the IRS now has new powers to garnish money from those who do not purchase insurance. Everything is different now!
What can you do?
Get advice. Find a reputable advisor who knows the ins and outs of company benefits. This is a critical necessity now, just like having an accountant is essential during tax season.
Maintain your patience. It will take time for things to settle. Don’t wear yourself out by being an alarmist.
Be transparent. Let your employees know about the increasing costs and that the changes in government intervention and mandates are not within your control.
Express empathy. Let your employees know that the changes in benefits and care are understandably disconcerting and that, in light of the new laws, neither you nor they can change the situation.
Encourage preventative care. Encourage and incentivize healthier living habits and make it easier for your workers to take personal responsibility for their own good health. Reward nonsmokers, healthy eaters, those who get routine health checkups, and those who exercise and maintain a healthy weight. Some government rulings and incentives make this more attractive. More on that here.
Here are some ways to create a company culture that supports a healthier way of living:
- Be an example for your employees, be fit!
- Include a workout room at your company
- Start a lunchtime walking club or company team (softball, soccer, bowling, etc.)
- Pay for employees to complete smoking cessation programs
- Put healthy choices in the snack machines; encourage a salad potluck day
- Support a charity with a walk-a-thon or 5K run, and start a training group to increase fitness levels
- Ask your employees what they feel would help them stay healthy and come up with creative wellness solutions together
While the changes in healthcare may be substantial and expensive, getting the right kind of help will make all the difference for your company.
Mark Griffin is founder and Chief Consultant at In His Name HR LLC. He has over 20 years of HR experience. Check out his Christian Career Coaching Page here. Follow Mark on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.