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Rita Harris April 11, 2017 3 min read

How to manage costs amid uncertainty surrounding replacement of ACA

Despite months of anticipation and speculation about undoing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it didn’t happen. At least not yet. With the defeat of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), it’s back to benefits business as usual, while we wait for more details on what change might look like. And while we wait, employers have real benefits challenges they need to solve. Health care costs keep climbing for both businesses and individuals. Yet, getting employees to take an active role in managing their health and the cost of their care continues to be an uphill battle.

ACA repeal and replace didn't happen: How to manage costs while in limbo

For insights on how to move forward, join the webinar: Repeal and Replace Didn't Happen. Now What? You’ll hear from industry experts who help businesses of all sizes solve today’s critical health care issues, including how to succeed in limbo, how to use benefit levers to reduce costs and improve outcomes, and what’s next with the DOL fiduciary rule.

It takes place April 27, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Featured presenters:

  • Paul Fronstin, Director, Health Research & Education, EBRI
  • Roy Ramthun, President, HSA Consulting Services
  • Jen Benz, CEO, Benz Communications
  • Dennis Triplett, Chairman, UMB Healthcare Services
  • Ann Mond Johnson, Advisor and Board Member, UMB

Practical tips for managing health care costs

Despite the intention of the ACA to keep health care costs in check, the price of staying healthy (not to mention getting sick) continues to climb for both businesses and individuals. Over time, employers have implemented a host of clever solutions to stem the cost tide—everything from full replacement high-deductible health plans to required biometric screenings, and wellness incentives and disincentives—with varying results.

Often, the difference between blockbuster cost savings or a box-office flop isn’t the plan design or the program itself. It’s effective communication: the often undervalued, yet essential, ingredient for successful program launches and the sustained employee behavior change that’s essential to long-term results.

While communication isn’t the only answer to creating better health care consumers and engagement in wellness programs, more frequent and more sophisticated employee communication can create significant value for the investment. Especially now, in times of uncertainty, when all eyes are on health care and what the current administration is going to do to lower costs.

Even though the future of health care is up in the air, you can still remind your people about all the great things that you do know. In fact, communicating more during times of uncertainty builds trust. While we’re in limbo, take the opportunity to reinforce to employees that you have their backs.

  • Remind employees that you’re committed to helping them have healthier and more financially secure futures. Consider getting your leaders involved to emphasize the importance of keeping employees healthy and safe. 
  • Reassure employees that your team is keeping a close eye on events and will continue to ensure you’re doing the best for employees. You can mention the benefits committee or teams of outside experts you partner with.
  • Reinforce smart behaviors. ACA (and whatever will replace it) is only one piece of the highly complex health care system. No single solution or piece of legislation will stabilize costs without active participation by everyone in maintaining or improving their health. Remind employees of the programs you offer that help them get the care they need, compare costs, and be more successful, such as health coaching or concierge programs.

Discover other steps you can take now to help cut costs while engaging employees in your programs at our webinar on April 27. Our own Jen Benz will join other industry leaders in this important discussion that promises to be packed with practical advice about how businesses can use all resources available—both plan and program design and communication—to reduce costs and improve outcomes.


Rita Harris

Rita Harris, VP Senior Consultant, is known for her ability to break down complex benefits programs into their essential parts, so employees can quickly assess “what’s in it for me.”