Employers learn more about Federal Health Care Reforms - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Employers learn more about Federal Health Care Reforms

By Katie Nilsson

ROCKFORD (WREX) -  Federal Health Care Reform is expected to have a major impact on businesses and the employees who work for them.

There are several ways employers will feel the effects of the new reforms, some big, some small.  While one of the main goals of the legislation is to get everyone covered by insurance, Miller Buettner & Parrott, Inc. President Laurie Miller says employers may not have to offer those plans.  "If they choose not to there are penalties involved and so what one of our roles will be as an employee benefits consultant is to help people measure the impact of that."

Adam Fleming is an attorney who went over some of the ins and outs of federal health care reform. He says businesses could have to pay a hefty excise tax if they chose not to provide insurance for their employees, but that cost could be cheaper for them. "That is an individual decision for every employer it's really going to be different for everyone."

One of the changes already in affect lets kids stay on their parents policies until they're 26 and they don't have to be a full-time student.  Just that part of the law costs employers more money.  Since other parts of it change almost daily, Fleming says the best way for a business to be ready is to stay up-to-date on and in front of those changes. "In the coming years we're going to see everything from how you, what kind of benefits you have to implement into your health plan."

That's one reason a non-profit called "The Alliance" is starting in Northern Illinois.  Its President Cheryl DeMars says they work with employers, health care providers and insurance companies to put together plans everyone can afford.  "Our mission is really to help employers control their costs, improve the quality of health care and engage their employees to be better health care consumers."

Fleming says employers will notice changes in how they design their employee's health plans too.  The federal government will place mandates on how much coverage people should get.  Those changes have already started and will continue until the beginning of 2014.

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