Changes Stemming from Health Care ReformWhile most of the significant health care reform provisions won’t go into effect until 2014, a few changes will affect workers in the next plan year:
- Most U.S. workers will be able to cover their adult children up to age 26.
- Over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin, pain relievers and allergy medications, will no longer be reimbursable from a FSA unless employees have a prescription from a doctor.
- For health plans that are new or for existing plans that are not “grandfathered,” preventive care (e.g., immunizations and certain check-ups and recommended screenings) will be 100 percent covered. While many employer-provided health plans already provide this level of coverage, this provision will improve the scope of benefits for some workers.
- A growing number of companies are starting to charge premiums on a per-participant basis, rather than through a “lump sum” premium traditionally found within the “individual” and “family” pricing models.
- Companies may require you to pay more to cover your spouse, or they may apply surcharges to encourage your spouse to enroll in his or her own employer’s plans.
- Employers are increasingly shifting plan designs from fixed dollar copayments to coinsurance models, where you pay a percentage of the out-of-pocket costs for each health care service.
You can also keep costs down by taking advantage of the health and wellness programs offered by your employer. Some companies provide incentives for completing health risk questionnaires (HRQs) or biometric screenings, often in the form of reduced premiums. According to Hewitt’s annual health care trends survey, 37 percent of companies now provide cash incentives for participating in health improvement and wellness programs such as weight management and smoking cessation programs.Get Help: Nearly all employers (90 percent) offer online modeling and health care cost estimators that help you compare and make trade-off decisions among your benefits options. An increasing number of companies also provide quality data on providers, giving you the opportunity to plan ahead and see ratings and read reviews of various aspects of your benefits package before you enroll. About Hewitt Associates Hewitt Associates (NYSE: HEW) provides leading organizations around the world with expert human resources consulting and outsourcing solutions to help them anticipate and solve their most complex benefits, talent, and related financial challenges. Hewitt works with companies to design, implement, communicate, and administer a wide range of human resources, retirement, investment management, health care, compensation, and talent management strategies. With a history of exceptional client service since 1940, Hewitt has offices in more than 30 countries and employs approximately 23,000 associates who are helping make the world a better place to work. For more information, please visit www.hewitt.com.