Tag Archives: Wellness programs

Long-Term Implications of ACA and Employers

While employers are continuing to feel the impact from a multitude of changing laws and regulations, worries about the Affordable Care Act have begun to subside, to some degree. But the jury is out on the long-term implications of the ACA, and the ways benefits managers will live up to its stipulations in coming years.

“It’s not to say that employers are no longer concerned about the ACA — they are and health care reform continues to be one of the most pressing issues on the minds of all employers,” said Steven Friedman, co-chair of Littler’s Employee Benefits Practice. “However, uncertainty surrounding the ACA, as well as delays in its implementation, has [still] created confusion among employers.”

ACA Implementation

The ACA has remained one of the top regulatory issues most employers still keep a constant eye on, but many say they have felt the significance of the ACA’s impact drop. Littler Mendelsons’s annual Executive Employer Survey Report suggests worries of the ACA hover at about 41% this year, versus 57% in 2013.

More than half of the respondents say that, in response to the numerous amendments and delays to the employer mandates, they have enlisted employee benefits attorneys or consultants to help with navigating upcoming regulations and tracking areas where there will most likely be additional change.

However, 39% have said they have done nothing as they believe they are still on course despite extensions, 14% are taking a “wait and see” approach in hopes that the employer mandate will be amended or repealed and 14% have delayed planning some aspects in the event that future concessions to the mandates are granted.

Respondents also pointed to several steps they’ve taken in response to the ACA, including implementing employee wellness programs (52%), offering employees health care benefits through private health insurance exchanges (26%) or limiting more employees to 30 hours per week (25%).

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Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

Wellness Tips Advisors Can Help Employers Avoid

1. Imposing goals on employees rather than empowering them to set their own goals

Every employee is unique. Yet most wellness programs present cookie-cutter program goals that may not tailor or attract much of the employee population, says Bierbower, adding that effective wellness programs ask employees what they want to accomplish and encourage them to set their own goals and design their own health and wellness pathway.

2. Offering goal-based incentive programs without guidance

Employees often know what needs to be done in order to achieve better health, including losing weight and reducing stress, but they don’t know how to do it. Most wellness programs are missing the guidance on how to reach personal health goals with their employees.

3. Relying on self-reporting rather than verifiable actions

In order to truly support employees in achieving their goals, companies can’t simply rely on self-reported data, which can give an inaccurate picture of employee activity. Most wellness programs only credit employees for signing up for a gym membership or a 5k run, rather than verifying and rewarding their workouts and the steps they are taking toward better health, according to Bierbower.

4. Overlooking the influence of family

The health behaviors of family members can either stimulate bad habits and shortcuts or encourage good intentions. Yet many wellness programs do not incorporate families and thereby neglect a crucial component of success for many employees, Bierbower says.

5. Analyzing how the program is being used rather than how it is working

Many wellness programs have failed to demonstrate that they do in fact work, Bierbower says. Few report what metrics they are targeting and what success factors they are measuring that clearly indicate a benefit to the employer and employee.

6. Not matching the wellness program with the company’s culture and health priorities

Many wellness programs have failed to demonstrate that they do in fact work, Bierbower says. Few report what metrics they are targeting and what success factors they are measuring that clearly indicate a benefit to the employer and employee.

To read more, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary