Obamacare Open Enrollment: Should You Sign Up?
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, over 1 million Americans signed up for health insurance plans on the federal government’s HealthCare.gov platform during the first two weeks of this year’s open enrollment period. That includes 250,000 new Obamacare consumers and over 750,000 renewing their current Obamacare plans. With that in mind, should you enroll in your state’s Obamacare exchange this open enrollment period? That’s a decision only you can make for yourself, but what we can tell you is this: If you don’t have access to a health plan through your employer, Obamacare isn’t necessarily the only option you have for coverage.
What if you could contract directly with healthcare providers, rather than worrying about the foibles of the mixing government subsidies with the health insurance industry altogether? It is possible, not just for employers but also for individuals in some cases – and direct contracting is what makes it possible. Direct contracting is a service that people can take advantage of if they are interested in exploring their options for healthcare coverage, not just to save costs, but also in order to gain more control over their own care. It can be especially useful for people who need to see specialists, or people who require ancillary healthcare supplies to support certain conditions: wheelchairs, shower chairs, walkers, etc. If you speak with a healthcare consultant who facilitates direct contracting services, you are under no obligation to proceed with contract negotiations – but you just might find yourself excited about the money you can save.
To find out if you can cut your personal healthcare costs with direct contracting, contact GM&A Healthcare Consultants to request a complimentary consultation. You’re under no obligation to purchase; this can be an informative meeting to discuss your personal healthcare expenses and ways to address them. If Obamacare is something you’d rather avoid, then there’s no better time to make this appointment.
Alternatives to Traditional Company Health Plans: Now’s the Time
As you know, a lot of changes have come about in our nation over recent days – leading to some volatility in the American stock market, global financial markets and of course, the public discourse. Meanwhile, employers and their human resources professionals still have organizations to run. They can’t afford to stop and reflect for too long; even in the eye of the storm, they have to keep moving forward. Of course, one of the most urgent matters on their agendas this time of year is wrapping up their duties for the annual open enrollment.
No matter what happens to be going on in government, there’s no time to waste when it comes to improving your organization’s employee benefits – chief among them, the company health plan. As you know, there’s a lot of talk that the incoming presidential administration wants to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act; maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t. Maybe it will only partially happen. If you’re an employer, you can’t afford to stand by and wait to find out.
Right now, before any sweeping changes are enacted, employers need to start looking into alternatives to save costs on their company health plans. For many of those employers, one of the most promising alternatives to traditional health plans will be direct contracting. Direct contracting is a service that is an alternative to traditional company health plans. It can bring about the money-saving changes your company plan needs without compromising on the care your employees receive. It sounds simple, because it is; all the best things are.
A winning campaign usually has a simple message, and ours is no exception: Corporate health plans are too expensive. With direct contracting, GM&A can help lower your company health plan costs while ensuring your employees receive uninterrupted care. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us to request a complimentary benefits consultation.
Privatizing Single Payer Healthcare
There are less than two weeks until the presidential election, and the final debate included some discussion on healthcare – specifically, which candidate would “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act and which one would simply amend the existing law. Remember, though: If the existing law were to be altered, the result would still be some form of a single payer system that would cost taxpayers just as much money as the ACA already does (whether it’s in the form of higher premiums for covered individuals or higher taxes across the board). Meanwhile, repealing and replacing is not as easy as it sounds. Either way, America has a hard road ahead of itself when it comes to perfecting its healthcare system.
In the meantime, we urge employers to look at the private market healthcare solution we offer at GM&A. It is almost a form of single payer, only the “payer” is a private entity that simplifies processes, lowers costs and improves care – not a government bureaucracy that complicates, charges and delays.
Our method, direct contracting, gives employers the opportunity to affordably cover their employees with healthcare plans that make sense for the organization and everyone in it. It is designed to make it easier for employers to comply with the existing Affordable Care Act, while still helping them drive down costs. It even gives them the ability to create a customized network of providers in their local area, as opposed to subjecting them to only one or two providers to choose from. No presidential candidate can feasibly promise that to anyone, but a private entity can; GM&A can.
We have a message for employers throughout the United States: If you are tired of the political back-and-forth on healthcare, contact GM&A to request a no-obligation health plan consultation. We will be happy to speak with you!
HR Malpractice | Failing to Do Right by the Company Can Cost Everyone
Everyone knows what the term “malpractice” means when it comes to the healthcare industry. But what about other fields – like human resources, for example? It is entirely possible to commit malpractice in a field like that, specifically if the HR administrator is failing to carry out due diligence to find services that are in the company’s best interests – and, the interests of the employees who are receiving those services. A perfect example of this is failing to make sure the company is paying for the most affordable and effective healthcare plans possible.
Why would an HR person do this? Often, the HR administrator works directly with a broker on setting up the company healthcare plan – and often, that broker is tied firmly to an insurance company. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but for the fact that the specific insurance company the broker is affiliated with will be sure to incentivize him heavily for getting them business. That means, of course, that the broker may recommend insurance carriers that:
- Charge more than the company can afford
- Don’t offer all the coverage options the company needs
- Don’t have enough providers in the company’s local area
…but the HR administrator will only know that if he or she carries out due diligence to find out what the specific insurance carrier can provide. If all the HR department does is meet with a broker, look at a single insurance carrier and negotiate for the lowest rates before signing on the dotted line on behalf of an entire company – well, that’s hardly in the best interest of the company or its employees. Failing to save the company money, failing to make sure employees get the right coverage…that’s HR malpractice.
Now, compare that to the experience of working with a healthcare consultant that is not tied to any specific insurance carrier. At GM&A, we give the HR administrators we consult the opportunity to reduce costs for the companies they work for by forming their own customized healthcare networks. The providers are in the company’s local area, and the plans are set up to cover the needs of the company based on its employees’ own past claims. And on a regular basis, we perform audits of our clients’ cases to make sure no one is being overbilled for care an employee receives. We don’t just help companies get set up with a healthcare plan; we also help them manage it.
Thinking outside the box takes some courage in any field, including human resources. Rather than committing HR malpractice, we at GM&A hope that HR professionals will keep an open mind and consider meeting with us to see what we can do for them. Contact GM&A at (325) 224-3245 to request more information or schedule a complimentary appointment at your location. We service employers throughout the United States.
Aetna Pulls out of Obamacare – What it Means for the Future
As you may have heard, the large insurance provider Aetna is the latest insurer to announce that it is pulling out of several Affordable Care Act state healthcare exchanges. Aetna withdrew from 11 states last week, leaving approximately 167,600 patients without healthcare coverage – many of them in rural areas where access to care was already compromised. In fact, Aetna’s decision has created another fascinatingly gloomy development: Pinal County, Arizona, has just become the first county in the nation to have no Affordable Care Act providers. Which county will be next? We are all but certain that more will follow.
Once again, we see that the Affordable Care Act is doing precisely the opposite of what it was designed to. It was implemented to give Americans healthcare coverage, and yet because of the costly impact it has on insurers and employers, the ACA is actually taking coverage away. If you thought we needed healthcare reform prior to 2009, look at the extent to which we need reform now. As you may know, we at GM&A Healthcare Consultants believe the path to that reform is our direct contracting health plan model.
When healthcare providers (not insurance companies, and certainly not government-implemented exchanges) compete for the business of employers who provide employee benefits, everyone wins. The employer wins by saving money, the employee wins by getting outstanding coverage from local providers that were chosen specifically for their network, and providers win because they get paid quickly and fairly. Direct contracting can and should be the future of American healthcare. It’s time to get on board this train now, because if the news about Aetna is any indication, the Affordable Care Act catastrophe is only posed to get worse.